Friday, February 8, 2008

Josh Hartnett: Dark, Mysterious, Not Killing Aliens

Special Note: Welcome Cara, our new writer!

I love film noir. Maybe it's the lighting, or maybe it's the characters, but either way once I see a dark street with a solitary light onscreen, my heart swoons. And I love the recent resurgence of the noir style. David Lynch, Sin City, Brick, all of them are bringing noir back. Noir is just this great facet of cinema that everyone can relate to. The hero, somewhat likable but with problems of his own, overcomes the harrowing obstacles put forth by gangsters, society, women, or his own mind. The lines can be cheesy, even the whole film can be cheesy, but it's the overall aesthetic of a noir film that draws you in.

Josh Hartnett, surprisingly, has been a great addition to the neo-noir genre. Sin City, The Black Dahlia Murders, and even the action film Lucky Number Slevin (more of a pulp film than a noir film) have featured Hartnett in pseudo-noir roles. And he's so good! This is way past the sex-deprived maniac in 40 Days and 40 Nights. I think it's his voice that really makes him fit. It's very deep and gruff, but still capable of sounding warm and responsive. It's like Bogart's voice. Bogart could seem rough and tough when fighting the Nazis, but warm and caring when speaking to Ilsa. Hartnett has the same inflexion in his voice. I haven't seen him in 30 Days of Night, so I can't vouch for the noir-isms in that movie, but definitely in The Black Dahlia Murders does he nail that voice. Sometimes his voice is so low, it's hard to tell exactly what he is saying. But it's the tone that conveys the feeling.

Why doesn't he do more of this!? I really do like him as an actor, but he tends to either land fantastic roles or really shitty ones. I'm looking at his IMDB entry right now, and the one film I Come with the Rain, a foreign film about a cop who goes to Hong-Kong to find a missing billionaire, looks really interesting. End-Zone, another generic college sports film, looks stupid. Josh, just find me somewhere and we'll make the next La BĂȘte Humaine. Stop making shitty teen movies! Unless they're shitty teen movies where you kill Jon Stewart with a coke pen.

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