Murder, armed robbery, conspiracy, betrayal; the crime genre has brought us some of cinema’s most ruthless villains and enigmatic heroes. It’s gritty and visceral storytelling at its finest, in worlds where the bad guys are cool and things rarely go to plan…
History of Crime
Alfred Hitchcock was famously the master of suspense, with the crime/thriller being perfect to utilise his uncanny ability to instil fear and helplessness into his characters and have those emotions spill into the audience. Hitchcock’s crime/thrillers are among cinema’s very best, with his voyeuristic, unsettling camera techniques seeing Psycho, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, and many more sewn into the fabric of the genre.
Rope is filmed in such a way that it looks like a single long take, keeping the audience breathless. A murdered body hidden in their apartment, two young men challenge their crime by inviting the victim’s friends and family to a dinner party. The premise is already perfect for suspense, but the technical aspects elevate it.
Double Indemnity was key to defining Film Noir but also gave rise to some of the popular elements of the crime/thriller genre. Cynical, manipulative Phyllis Dietrichson enlists the reluctant Walter Neff into helping with her husband’s murder. Both criminal characters, but with wildly different outlooks.
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