Maybe all noirs are claustrophobic. Maybe that’s what I like best about them. The suffocating closeness of small towns, of family, and supposed friends. These are movies I think a lot about.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead - Sidney Lumet - Hoffman and Hawke as the blood brothers (and brothers in fucking up) require this movie’s inclusion on my list. Also goddamn, if Marisa Tomei doesn’t shine in this. A heist gone wrong and consequences that just keep piling up.
Brick - Rian Johnson - Classic plot with a twist I absolutely adored.
The Set-Up - Robert Wise - I saw this once, years ago. Brutal and heartbreaking. Boxing and noir. Nothing is better.
Sweet Virginia - Jamie M. Dagg - Jon Berenthal is not the Punisher in this one. He got hurt in the rodeo and is home now misbehaving a little but trying to live a small life and then he meets a guy...
In The Bedroom - Todd Field - This movie wrecked me. Based on Dubus’s short story The Killing, we watch new love blossom and end and the outcomes for everyone are not satisfying for any of them.
Nikki Dolson is the author of the novel All Things Violent and the upcoming story collection Love and Other Criminal Behavior. Keep up with her at her website and follow her on Twitter @nikkidolson.