Shorta (2021, dir. Frederik Louis Hviid & Anders Olholm)

Two officers – one trusted, one implicated in police violence – are caught up in a riot situation and cut off from support. This Danish drama mashes up the behind-enemy-lines likes of ’71 with a David Ayer-ish cop neo-noir. Somewhat schematic in its storytelling, but undeniably confident, and at least attempting – not always wholly successfully – to mix action with social commentary.

Here’s the trailer.

Texas Killing Fields (2011, dir. Amy Canaan Mann)

Detectives struggle with a series of murders. Based very loosely on real-world unsolved crimes, this noir-ish thriller can’t decide whether to go for procedural or for obsessive cop angst. It tries both, and so doesn’t gel. Decent performances from an up-and-coming cast and an OK look make this a not-uninteresting curio though.

Here’s the trailer.

The Yakuza (1974, dir. Sydney Pollack)

A former detective returns to Japan from the US: an old friend’s daughter under threat. Neither quite a neo-noir, an action thriller or a study of overseas crime syndicates, The Yakuza tries to be all three with variable results. Slow, but interesting, with flashes of a darker, better, and more violent film lurking.

Here’s the trailer.

Dragged Across Concrete (2018, dir. S. Craig Zahler)

Two suspended detectives needing money plan to hijack the proceeds of a crime. Slow-burn minimalist neo-noir procedural thriller that takes time with its characters, allowing you to understand – if not agree with – their actions. Long, but enthralling, and brutal at times. Recommended.

Wetlands (2017, dir. Emanuele Della Valle)

An ex-addict cop has a chance at redemption. Autumnal neo-noir with a good cast and some fine ideas and moments, but an overly-busy plot and some excesses muddy the waters. Not uninteresting though.

Side Effects (2013, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

A patient involved in a drug trial murders her husband. Woozy neo-noir that comes at you like a mix of 50s paranoid Hitchcock¬†and 60s New Wave. Lots of fine stuff along the way, even if the plotting isn’t as crystal as in Soderbergh’s best work.

Tomboy (AKA Tomboy: A Revenger’s Tale / The Assignment / (Re) Assignment) (2016, dir. Walter Hill)

A hitman is subjected to forced gender reassignment. A messy hotchpotch of bad taste, worse gender politics, and a standard pulpy noir payback yarn. Tomboy is never uninteresting, but not always for the right genre reasons. A future cult beckons.

John Wick (2014, dir. Chad Stahelski & David Leitch)

A retired assassin returns to the fray. A glorious stylised neo-noir action flick with a neat mythology, splendid choreography, crisp direction, some sly humour, and committed performances all round. The 2014 state of the action movie-making art.