Article: Jim Thompson wrote ‘hard-boiled existential noir’


Jim Thompson is one of the greatest noir writers of all time. If you have not enjoyed his books, you have certainly enjoyed some the films based on his writing.

William W. Savage, Jr. has written a nice article about the man and his books. Check out the full article over at here:

Review: After Dark, My Sweet

After Dark, My Sweet is a film from 1990, based on the Jim Thompson book of the same name from 1955. I have read a number of Thompson’s books, but have not got around to this one yet. I was interested in watching this film because it was based on Thompson’s work.

This film is directed by James Foley. Foley seems to be the go to neo-noir director of smaller budget films over the last 30 years or so. He even has directed some neo-noir style television shows in his long career.

This film starts with Jason Patrick wandering around in the desert. Patrick plays Kevin ‘kid’ Collins an ex-boxer with some mental issues. This story is told in the first person from Collins’ perspective and lets just say he is an unreliable narrator, a trademark of Jim Thompson’s books. He soon finds himself in a bar when femme fatale Fay Anderson, played by Rachel Ward, walks into the bar. Collins tries to strike up a conversation with Fay, but when Fay doesn’t seem interested the bartender comes to her aid. Collins knocks out the bartender and takes off, knowing he will soon be in trouble if he stays. When Fay sees Collins’ skill with his fists, she chases him down and brings him home. Collins soon meets Uncle Bud played by Bruce Dern. Uncle Bud has a plan for some quick money and wants Collins’ help and the double crosses soon start. Who can Collins trust…or even believe, including himself.

From what I understand, this movie stays pretty true to the book, this means we get plenty of 1950’s noir dialog. I enjoyed the dialog quite a bit, but this may be lost on today’s film fans. The story is hard to follow since the narrator is untrustworthy, it is difficult to figure out what he has imagined and what is real. The story is interesting and original if nothing else. I enjoyed the film and think neo-noir fans will enjoy it too, especially fans of these kind of films from the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Bad Turn Worse

Bad Turn Worse is a great modern Noir.  I really enjoyed this film and it looks like the few people that have watched it so far seem to agree.  Currently it has 82% Rotten Tomatoes rating but only a 5.9 on IMDb with less then 1000 ratings.  The biggest star in this small film is Jeremy Allen White, who is known for playing Lip on Shameless.  This takes place in Texas and revolves around 3 young friends that get caught up in a bad idea that turns worse, ah now I understand that title.  I loved seeing William Devane in this, this guy just knows how to play the rich evil, doesn’t he? This is the first movie written by Dutch Southern(Great name!) and look forward to seeing what else he contributes to.  Easter Egg of Noir note:  Jim Thompson’s book South of Heaven (haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my to read list now).

If this trailer doesn’t get you excited I don’t know what will!