Review: The Long Memory

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The Long Memory is a British classic film noir from 1953. The film is directed by Robert Hamer based on a book by Howard Clewes.

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The main plot of this film is nothing new, Phillip Davidson, played by John Mills is falsely accused of murder and sent to prison for 12 years. When he gets out he seeks justice on those that framed him. The added spice to this plot comes from its smaller characters. Fay, played by  Elizabeth Sellars, is Davidson’s girlfriend at the time of the murder. Davidson and Fay go to a ship to meet Fay’s Father. The Father is smuggling people out to sea for a small price. Boyd, played by John Chandos is the brains behind this scheme. When Boyd and the newest person needing smuggled get in a fight on the boot, Boyd kills the man. Davidson tries to stop Boyd, but in the scuffle the boat catches on fire. Fay and her Father get off the boat, along with one of Boyd’s thugs. Davidson is rescued, but when the body is found he is accused of murdering Boyd, though the body belongs to the man needing smuggled.

Fay decides to testify against her boyfriend to protect her father. During the 12 years Davidson is in prison, Fay marries a police officer, Bob Lowther played by John McCallum.

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This sets up many questions to be answered, Will Lowther do anything to protect his wife or will he do what is right? Will Davidson get his revenge on Fay? Did Boyd survive the fire on the boat?

Along the way Davidson helps Ilse, played by Eva Bergh. Ilse has had a horible life, loosing her parents at 12 and forced to work at a criminal’s hangout as the barmaid where she sufferers even more at the hands of evil men. Ilse has little to do with the main plot, but adds a bit more grit to this tale and is played wonderfully by Bergh. She was one of the high points for me in this film. Ilse isn’t the mirror image of Fay in this like we see so often in film noir. Fay isn’t exactly an evil femme fatale and Ilse isn’t the good girl from the right side of the tracks either.

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This film is worth watching and has its charm, it is a pretty decent and fun classic film noir to watch. Though it does have some originality and is well filmed it is by no means an all time great film noir, but does deserve to find more of an audience among noir fans.

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Article: 10 Great European Neo-Noir Films

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Jessica Kiang over at Indiewire has put together a nice little list of European neo noir films. I will be adding a few of these to my queue for sure. Is there any European neo noir films that should have been mentioned that were not?

Here is a link to the full list and article:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/10-great-european-neo-noir-films-20160121?page=1

Review: Luther Season 4

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Luther Season 4 has just debuted on BBC recently and has had its highest ratings yet, here in the United States. Season 4 is much shorter then the past seasons, as it is only 2 episodes long, or more accurately one, 2 hour film.

This Season we see Luther(Idris Elba) in a bit of a different place then we have before. He is living in the county, in a small home, by himself. He is still on the edge of suicide and though he is not in the city fighting crime he still seems battered. He soon gets a visit from two detectives, Theo played by Darren Boyd and Emma played by Rose Leslie. They report to Luther that Alice has been killed, and they must question Luther and search his home. This is of course a shock to both us as an audience and Luther. We really see in this opening that Luther is truly all alone now. Everybody close to him is gone in one way or another.

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Luther is on leave from the police force and he is not in his usual suit and tie. He soon jumps right into investigating what happened to Alice, not as a detective, but as his broken self. As the two new detectives we meet earlier, are on a case of a serial killer, Luther takes a tour of the London underworld looking for clues in Alice’s murder.

I don’t want to give anything away, but we soon see Luther put on his suit and tie, like it is his superhero outfit or his battle armor and re-joins the force.

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Neil Cross has written another amazing story with some twists and turns we do not see coming. I was disappointed that Alice is dead, or is she? We do get some new characters that will challenge Luther and some that will support him. Idris Elba has recently stated about Luther”It’s unfinished business, it’s fertile ground,” and. “The character continues to challenge me.” With Elba’s rising star in film, I would say the biggest hurdle for more Luther is Elba’s other projects, but with these statements, he seems open to playing Luther again. Lets hope we get to see Luther again soon.

For more inside information to Season 4 of Luther and what the future may hold for the series, check out Mandi Bierly interview with Neil Cross here:

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/luther-special-postmortem-neil-cross-044729299.html

 

 

Review: Re-watching Luther Season 3

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Luther Season 3 finds Luther(Idris Elba) in a deeper hole then ever. He starts out having to take on two cases at the same time. One is a fetish killing that seems linked to some murders that took place 30 years ago. The second seems a simple open and shut case of an internet troll who has been killed.

To make things worse Erin Gray(Nikki Amuka-Bird) has been promoted to I.A. and is gunning for Luther. She partners with George Stark, played by David O’Hara. They recruit Ripley(Warren Brown) to help them.

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Luther also finds a new love in Mary Day, played by Sienna Guillory.

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Luther takes on his hardest case in the last two episodes, when a vigilante who has lost his wife to a convicted rapists, butts heads with Luther on what is right and what is wrong.

Neil Cross does another amazing job taking us on this journey with Luther. Season 3 follows the formula of Season 2 where we only get 4 episodes and each case takes two episodes to close. Luther has a lot to overcome in this season, on both a personal level as well as a professional one. As always nobody is safe and oh yeah…Alice is back!

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Each season of Luther gets a little darker then the last and this one tops season 2 in that way. There are many scenes of horror and fright that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  So…now what? Come back tomorrow to take a look at season 4.

Here is a link to a look at Season 2:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/28/review-re-watching-luther-season-2/

 

Review: Re-watching Luther Season 2

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Neil Cross does it again, with season 2 of Luther. This season is even darker then the first and explores the underworld of London.

With the finale leaving us in ah and wondering “now what?” We find Luther( Idris Elba) is still in his position as a detective. Ripley(Warren Brown) has been demoted for his actions in season 1. Martin Schenk(Dermot Crowley)has taken over the department. The big question was where was Alice Morgan(Ruth Wilson) going to end up after season 1? Well we find Alice in an mental hospital after a short prison stint and a suicide attempt.

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For season 2  Benny Silver( Michael Smiley) has joined Luther’s team on a permanent basis. By the book Detective Erin Grey( Nikki Amuka-Bird) has also joined the team, but does not trust Luther, due to the rumors surrounding him as a dirty cop.

Caroline Jones played by Kierston Wareing shows up looking for Luther’s help. Luther captured her husband years ago, when her husband accidentally killed a prostitute and she has been leaning on Luther ever since. The husband committed suicide in prison and Caroline still blames Luther. Caroline wants help finding her daughter, how is going to shot a disturbing pornographic film soon. Luther knows he shouldn’t get involved, but eventually does. He brings Caroline’s daughter Jenny, played by Aimee-Ffion Edwards, to a safe house. This sets off a chain of events that drags Luther deeper into trouble.

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Season 2 is only 4 episodes long with the first two episodes covering a case of a man fascinated with the Spring Heel Jack from English Folklore and the last 2 episodes cover a psychotic who is inspired by role playing games to cause panic and destruction on the city.

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Luther has had enough of being a detective and wants out, he just needs to finish up a few things before he leaves. This of course doesn’t work out for him as he cleans one thing off the books, something else comes up he must take care of.

The shooting of season 2 is even more in the neo noir spirit then the first season. We still get mostly shades of grey with splashes of red and a few other colors now and then. The shooting of reflections on glass or through glass are prevalent once again.

If you liked season 1, you are going to love season 2! Look for a review of Season 3 tomorrow.

Here is yesterday’s look at season 1:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/27/review-re-watching-luther-season-1/

 

Review: Re-watching Luther Season 1

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Luther is a television series from BBC about a brilliant, but very troubled police detective. This series is written by novelist Neil Cross. Cross wanted to write an original character that was different from what we normally see. He says most crime/mystery characters fall into one of two types of characters. There is the who done it detective that is out to show how smart they are by solving the puzzle, best exemplified by Sherlock Homes. The second type is the gritty, strong characters best exemplified by Phillip Marlowe(the side of the crime drama we love here at Everything Noir). Cross made Luther a cross of the best of these two types of crime fiction and told the stories of Luther in the fashion of Columbo. So to make something totally original Cross made Luther a stew of some of the best detectives in literature, film and television.

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Neil Cross’ writing is half of the successful formula for Luther. The other half is the acting of Idris Elba as Luther. Luther as a character is very complex. He is willing to bend the rules to stop the evil in his city. He has mental issues caused by the stresses of his job and the evil he has seen. He is a genius detective with a mind that thinks outside the box compared to other detectives. This genius doesn’t alienate him from others, like it does with characters like Sherlock Homes, he can use this to get information out of witnesses and suspects.

Season 1 starts out with Luther chasing a man through a factory. When he finds the man hanging by his finger tips from a cat walk. Luther lets this man fall, to what seems to be the man’s death. This also lands Luther in a mental hospital and the man that fell in a coma in the hospital.

Months later Luther is out of the hospital and back on the job, cleared of any wrong doing. We find Luther has been separated from his wife, Zoe, played by Indira Varma, during this time. Luther finds he now has a new partner, Ripley, played by Warren Brown and is sent on a new case. The case looks like a break-in where two people and a dog are shot dead. The daughter of the dead couple found them and called the police. Luther suspects the daughter Alice Morgan, played by  Ruth Wilson as the murderer.

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Alice Morgan is a genius as well, who has gone to college at 13. Luther knows she has committed the murders, but also knows she is to smart to ever be caught. Alice is a bit of a Hannibal Lecter character and is a friend and a foe to Luther through out season 1.

Season 1 is 6 episodes long, but has more story then most series twice or four times as long. Luther tackles a handful of cases, some come to a conclusion in one episode, some take longer or linger through out the season. Luther also has to face his personal issues with his wife and with others on the police force through out the series as well.

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Luther is also filmed in a very interesting way. The show is mostly filmed in shades of grey with some small splashes of reds and other colors. The show also uses interesting locations that give it a certain feel.

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Luther is some of the best television in the last five years and well worth watching. Noir fans will thoroughly enjoy this series. Look tomorrow for my look at Season 2.

Book Review: Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross

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Luther: The Calling is the first book in the Luther series, it is also the only one so far. It is written by Neil Cross, who is also the writer and creator of the television series Luther.

This book is a prequel of the first season of Luther. So if you are wondering who that man who falls from the cat walk and is put into a coma is, or who belongs to all those names Luther is yelling at him before he falls, like Emma and Adrian? This is the book for you. We also get some background on many of the other characters, like Luther’s wife Zoe, and Ian Reed.

This is a great read for fans of the T.V. series and adds a lot of knowledge to where the characters are coming from. This being a prequel to the first season, I can see this being a pattern for Cross. I would love to get a prequel to season 2 and learn about Caroline Jones and the case in which Luther arrests her husband and he commits suicide. The third season finds Luther and Ripley coming out of a garage with suspects cuffed and an explosion in the background, but we never find out what it was all about, this may make for another good book. Maybe the most interesting book would be a prequel to the latest season, season 4, where we find Luther on leave and living in the country, but there was definitely something happening between Luther and Alice between Season 3 and 4.

It looks like we will soon be getting a second book in this series and I look forward to reading it and learning more about this complex character.

We’ve heard ramblings about a Luther movie coming some day, and it sounds like that movie maybe based on this book. A Luther movie would be great. In fact, I will be lining up for anything Luther at this point, more books, more television, or a film, sign me up! There are rumblings of a possible American version of this great series and though Cross and Idris Elba would be involved, Elba would not star. I think half of what makes Luther great is Elba and I don’t know if I want a watered down version of Luther with somebody else playing the lead. This sounds like a bad idea. I will be sticking with the original Luther and patiently wait for more material.

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I will be looking at each season of the television series, starting tomorrow. So come back for even more Luther then!