What is Neon Noir?
Both films are shot in a similar style and share many of the same storytelling tropes. They are too bright and colourful to be film noir so I call these films Neon Noir. Although Mute doesn’t suffer from the same problems Terminal does.
Defining Neon Noir
First we have to define what Film Noir as the former doesn’t exist without the latter. According to Britannica.com Film Noir is:
style of filmmaking characterized by such elements as cynical heroes, stark lighting effects, frequent use of flashbacks, intricate plots, and an underlying existentialist philosophy. The genre was prevalent mostly in American crime dramas of the post-World War II era.
Neon Noir takes this stark lighting and turns it up to eleven using vibrant colors and dynamic unnatural lighting.
Alongside Mute and Terminal, the other two examples of the genre I’ve seen are Blade Runner 2049 and Atomic Blonde. While researching this post, I came across an article from That Moment In called 5 Neon-Noir Movies to Watch After Blade Runner 2049 which are:
I’ve seen two of the above five films and neither of them are Neon Noirs. Both Under the Skin and Drive (which I’m not a fan of) follow a standard Noir narrative of a loner seeking redemption. However it lacks the vibrant colours. In fact the That Moment In article gives the reason I don’t think Under the Skin qualifies.
so dark it’s nearly opaque