"The Da Vinci Code," "Rebecca," And Film Noir

1897 words - 8 pages

"The Da Vinci Code," "Rebecca," and Film NoirIf you've ever seen a film in which the hero is a shadowy figure involved in a dark and twisted plot, and chasing a woman who is obviously up to no good, then chances are you've seen a movie of the film noir genre. Elements of film noir set this genre apart from other genres of film due its dark and sinister atmosphere. Film noir is a genre which is tough to define, mostly because the genre's creators were unaware that they were involved in a stylistic change. Some movie critics would even say that film noir is not a genre in itself, but rather a mood, style, point-of-view, or tone of a film. In any case, film noir involves the use of certain ...view middle of the document...

He cannot escape the clutches of his first wife, Rebecca, whose hand seems to be reaching from the grave. Rebecca's memory is present in almost every frame of every scene. In the film, Max appears to have it all: he's rich, he's the center of attention among his peers, he lives in a beautiful estate known as Manderlay, and has a beautiful new bride. At the beginning of the film, when Max first meets the new Mrs. De Winter, he seems like a good and honest man. However, Max has a dark secret which is revealed later in the film. He accidentally killed his first wife and covered up her death, making it appear as an accidental drowning. The dark secret of a protagonist is typical of the film noir:The protagonist also may appear to be honest at the outset of the film. In these cases, as the story unfolds, the protagonist becomes tainted by some dishonest deed and is sent to his doom. In most cases, the protagonist, if male, is brought to ruin by another staple of the noir movie--the femme fatale. (Cameron, 15)The body of Rebecca later resurfaces and evidence shows that the drowning was no accident at all. Max now feels the pressure bearing down on him as he is under tense investigation from the authorities. He finally comes clean and tells his new wife the truth about Rebecca's death. He tells her of how the adulterous Rebecca taunted him with a series of love affairs, claiming to be pregnant by another man, and tried to have Max kill her. These circumstances keep Max from enjoying his life with the new Mrs. De Winter, and ultimately change his perception of the world around him. Similarly, in "The Da Vinci Code," the hero of the novel, Robert Langdon, a professor of Symbology at Harvard University, is taken from his home in police custody to a murder scene at the Louvre museum in Paris. Little does Robert know, his name was scrolled in blood on the floor by the murder victim and he is now the number one suspect. After receiving help to escape police custody from the murder victim's granddaughter, Sophie Neveu, the heroine of the novel, Langdon escapes what would have been a long jail sentence and is now on the run from the police through the city of Paris. Things get more complicated when Robert and Sophie discover that Sophie's grandfather, who was just murdered, headed a secret organization to protect the Holy Grail. After piecing together the facts about the murder and realizing that the Holy Grail is now in grave danger, Robert feels as though the safety of the Grail is in his hands. Robert's temptation to solve the clues laid out for him by Sophie's grandfather, which lead to the Holy Grail, keep him on the search that almost leads him to his demise.Most noir stories feature main characters who find themselves embroiled in hopeless situations, fighting against a force that threatens to overtake them, the force being their inability to resist temptation. (Hirsch, 97)These circumstances leave Robert Langdon alienated and estranged from his former...

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