'The Big Sleep' Film By Howard Hawkes, Review

Essay by maxludoA-, March 2005

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Howard Hawke's latest film is an enthralling mix of intrigue, deception, corruption and self-interest. TBS is populated with seedy and immoral characters who exist within a black world represented through the shadowy confines of black and white that film noir is so suitable to represent. The strengths of TBS is in its fantastic dialogue which Hakes has taken from the legendary minds of chandler and contributions by William Faulkner. Chandlers classic detective story, which although extremely convoluted, is lifted by superb characterizations, atmospheric and moody noir scenes and standout performances from both Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. It is the changes Hawke's made in the process of adapting the big sleep from text to cinema that make this new film a trip to the cinemas.

The Big Sleep has many inherent stereotypes, but it's modification of these become archetype conventions and the key element to its allure.

Classically film noir creates a dark universe which the crime fiction genre comfortable furnishes corrupt and immoral characters.

TBS however seems more grey than black and more a mood that is created than a convention that is adhered to and therefore leads into an archetype that results in a more realistic portrayal. The noir elements within TBS are limited but definitely evident and it's lack of complete dedication to the broader convention help to build the text and establish a model trait. The setting's employed, both physical and temporary become important symbols in the establishment of the film noir archetype, the Hollywood setting is typified by the teeming corruption and criminal activity and this in conjunction with the often rainy weather and night scenes make for a gross amplification of suspense. The overall setting coupled with darting camera shots, often of characters feet and shady images that are used to obscure the view...