Noir was the American dream turned upside down and shaken till it's pockets emptied.
In the ethic of the American dream, success by any means is respected and failure for any reason is rarely understood - and even more rarely forgiven. Failure is the ultimate American taboo. But in Noir, aside from the occasional fling with somebody worth flinging, nobody really wins. Noir is a cinema of failure. More than a particular visual style Noir has a particular character and content.
In Noir we live in the presence of characters who, for better or worse, and with a certain panache, are playing for keeps, and who sometimes shine most brightly when they lose - as though in loss there's a secret that does no earthly good but feeds the soul.
Austin Chronicle 2011