Film Noir Denotation – Double Indemnity Essay

When one thinks of what film noir is, their mind should automatically flash to Double Indemnity. This ingenious film directed by Billy Wilder exploits all of the true characteristics of film noir. All of the main attributes to film noir are seen first in Double Indemnity which was not only the pioneer to this genre, but is still considered one of the greatest movies of all time. It was a risky move to put out this movie when it was put it out, but the world should be glad Wilder and his team were willing to take the leap towards making a movie about a genre that everyone was afraid to recreate.

Double Indemnity is the epitome of a noir film because of the conventions seen in the movie. The cinematography is a prime characteristic in Double Indemnity that makes it an ideal noir film. The cinematography is so dark and shadowy which is exactly how all good noir films are today. When this movie was made it was very unheard of to try and detract from light as everyone was attempting to enhance it, however Wilder took a leap and it payed off.

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The dark and shadowy setting reinforces the darkness behind the plot and theme, which is true for all good film noir. In this movie in particular they chose to use black and white film instead of (what was new back then) colored film. This further increased the feeling of the movie. Also this movie was the first time that the Venetian Blinds were used to portray a trapping mood as if the characters were behind jail bars. These sideways blinds are now seen in almost all noir films and are a main characteristic in which Double Indemnity can call its own.

Another very common characteristic of film noir that is present in Double Indemnity is voice overs. This movie was one of the very first movies to use the voice over effect and it really helps to get the plot across. The voice over effect helps the viewer to really see the story from the main characters point of view after the action is already done. By examining the tone in the characters voice you can tell how the he feels about the action that he has completed.

Double Indemnity does a fantastic job of using a voice over to set up the entire plot and set a mood for Neff. Double Indemnity was wildly popular from the day it was released despite its immoral values and messages. There were a few critics who wished the public to stay away from such immoral films. Overall Double Indemnity was the start of many films with unethical and corrupted themes, and even for being a pioneer, is still one of the bests movies of all time and the idealized example of film noir.