For example, in The Public Enemy the director dedicates a profound share of time to the depiction of breweries, honky-tonk bars and streets to reveal the despair and apathy ruling in Tom’s native city. The character’s life ran on the streets; the director deliberately makes him die on the streets as well. A variety of scenes in The Roaring Twenties is shot in open spaces as well as in the interiors peculiar for the epoch. On the contrary, the British film Brighton Rock is staged in the closed space.
Pinkie Brown is a typical British spiv of the 1930s-1940s, who is different from his American ‘colleagues’ in regard to publicity. […] the film’s increasing interiority, and the sense it communicates of being trapped within its malign protagonist’s psyche, provide its motive power, and render to a large degree irrelevant (other than in public relations terms) the insistence in a prefatory caption that the action occurs in a pre-war Brighton that has long since disappeared. (Pulleine 1999, p. 32) Unlike the earlier crime movies, the films shot after the 1990s stress neither interiority nor exteriority of the criminal world.
The characters of Pulp Fiction prefer to act in closed spaces but this can be explained by the intense, off balanced and postmodern nature of the very fictional narration. Sexy Beast runs partly in the exotic settings to underline the changed nature of the fictional criminal: Today’s criminal heroes crave and enjoy power; bolder and more imaginative than ordinary people, they dare to violate boundaries that the rest of us observe. They gamble on being bad, aware of the risks but preferring to die infamous than unknown. Doing what we might like to do, they act with a freedom we are afraid to assume.
As a result, we admire them, and when they die, we have a sense of loss and waste. (Rafter 2000, p. 150) Along with the categories of the criminal’s psyche and space in the criminal film, the use of dialogue also serves the subject of artistic experiments. The potential of dialogue in Pulp Fiction, a postmodern criminal narrative, has been discussed above. Although the movie opens new horizons in regard to the characters’ speech to enrich the fictional narrative about crime and criminals, the extended dialogue is not the only possible method to expand the boundaries of the genre.
Japanese director Takeshi Kitano sets an example of original use of the dialogue and speech in his movies. Cannon (1997, para. 3, lines 2-5; para. 5, lines 2-6) expressed his admiration at Kitano’s style in Hana-bi as following: In a film that harks back to the silent era, so sparse is the dialogue, Nishi is taciturn to the point of appearing dumb. From his perspective almost everything worth saying has already been said, so why waste time on empty words; usually a look or a gesture is all that’s required.
[…] A curious and disturbing mixture of flower and beast, [Kitano’s own pieces] both open up and obscure the dynamics of the characters. They hint frustratingly at worlds beyond the surface, yet never actually reveal them; perhaps this is the touchstone of the entire film. Hana-bi captivates and compels you to watch, then refuses to even consider resolving its ambiguity. On the other hand, however, this quicksilver quality allows Hana-bi to transcend its genre; this is a tale of people, not of guns.
It really seems that the best examples of the crime film regardless of the country where they were produced are mainly about individuals being violent than about violence per se. The genre describes people’s psyche in the social context and discovers new possibilities to make social and psychological implications more vivid. Conclusion The present dissertation explored the traits of the crime film in the United States, Great Britain, and South East Asia (Japan). Thirteen films were chosen for analysis to reveal similarities and distinctions between crime movies in different countries.
The films – The Public Enemy (1931) by William A. Wellman [USA]; The Roaring Twenties (1939) and White Heat (1949) by Raoul Walsh [USA]; Goodfellas (1990) and Gangs of New York (2002) by Martin Scorsese [USA]; Pulp Fiction (1994) by Quentin Tarantino [USA]; Hana-bi (aka Fireworks 1997) and Brother (2000) by Takeshi Kitano [Japan]; Brighton Rock (1947) by John Boulting [UK]; Get Carter (1971) by Mike Hodges [UK]; The Long Good Friday (1980) by John Mackenzie [UK]; Sexy Beast (2000) by Jonathan Glazer [UK]; and Gangster No.
1 (2000) by Paul McGuigan [UK] – were chosen for analysis in regard to the plot structure, type of the main character, and some additional categories (of space, crime, criminal’s psyche, and the use of dialogue).