Great Neo Noir Films: The Long Goodbye (1973)

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The Long Goodbye is a favorite of mine. It offers everything that you could ask for from a 1970’s noir film. A complex mystery that you have to have engage with as a viewer, a host of characters who you don’t know if you can trust, and an ending that is as satisfying as it is thoroughly disappointing. A true noir film to its very core.

As Marlow delves into the mystery of his friend’s wife’s death, the puzzle becomes more and more complex. It is important to remember that this film is not a thriller, but rather, possesses a slow deliberate pacing that matches the detective’s character to a tee. The film does an excellent job of painting a bleak picture of society, especially by contrasting Marlow’s character with almost every other major character in the story. Marlow is trying to do the right thing and find out what really happened, while the rest of the characters are selfish, and exist in a world of moral ambiguity. As the detective drifts through this self serving society, it is clear that he can make no allies in his quest; he stands alone, but can he himself rise above the level of those around him?

I hesitate to discuss the film any further, as I would hate to ruin it for anyone who has not seen it. Lets just end our discussion by reiterating the film’s tagline, “Nothing says goodbye like a bullet”

-Anderson Ryle

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