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The Chaotic Femme Fatale And The Stable Detective

709 words - 3 pages

In Classical Hollywood Cinema, the plot moves forward mostly by the conflict between order and chaos. This is the case for most of the Film Noir movies, a popular genre that started in the 1940s. In The Big Sleep (1946) and Chinatown (1976), the two main characters, private investigators, are associated with order while all of the “femme fatale” characters bring chaos to the narrative of the films.
Just like all of the Film Noir movies, The Big Sleep and Chinatown starts with a sense of balance. Everything is in order, until something bad happens: a death. At the end, the private detectives finds the murderer and the balance and order are brought back. But what happens in between this? The ...view middle of the document...

For example, Evelyn was mysterious and a liar. These traits serve a narrative function. These two main characteristics, also seen in the Carmen and Vivian in The Big Sleep, always create chaos and is in contradiction with the private investigator’s goal: finding out the truth about the murders. When all the characters act different ways and have different goals, the balance in the narrative is destroyed. In the movie, the balance is destroyed during the first confrontation: Evelyn comes in the movie and announces to Gitties that she is indeed Mulwray’s wife that he should be expecting a lawsuit. At the end of the movie, Evelyn dies and the balance comes back.
In The Big Sleep, there are two “femme fatale”: Vivian and Carmen.
Carmen doesn’t make things easy for the private detective Marlowe. She lies to him constantly and uses seduction to hide her lies. The day after being drugged, Carmen lies to Marlowe and says that she doesn’t remember anything about Geiger’s death. She then changes her mind and claims that Joe Brody did it. She creates chaos intentionally,...

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