That said, I’ll always come running when Jed calls, and as such, we’re gonna roll with this series of double features: various duos of thematically interlaced noirdom that are underrated because I fucking say they are—maybe you’ve seen them, maybe you haven’t, but I believe them be some of the underappreciated jewels of the genre (ok, maybe not U-Turn, but it’s still a fun bit of business, they can’t all be winners, Jesus).
After Dark, My Sweet / The Hot Spot
1990 may well stand as neo-noir’s gloriously decadent apogee, with such heavy hitters as The Grifters, King of New York, Miller’s Crossing, Nikita, The Two Jakes, Wild at Heart, I Hired a Contract Killer, and Boiling Point all hitting screens at the dawn of that decade. Two films also released that year, but which seem only scant synaptic flickers in our cultural memory, are James Foley’s After Dark, My Sweet and Dennis Hopper’s The Hot Spot.
At Close Range / U-Turn
Mirroring the double feature above, here’s another serious (and seriously amazing) James Foley noir drama followed with a rotgut chaser of pure, laceratingly noxious pulp. At Close Range features Sean Penn starring in the true story of a rural Pennsylvania crime family led by a terrifyingly dead-eyed Christopher Walken, and its two brutal, beautiful hours lay bare the ecstatic sweetness of youth’s innocence and the inchoate bleakness that comes with its loss.
Darker Than Amber / Cutter's Way