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The New American Crime Film

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786459209
ISBN-10: 0786459204
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With his sharp analysis of some of the most important recent American films, Matthew Sorrento not only forges a new canon but also anchors it in the rich tradition of the gangsters who shot their way through the noir of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the New Hollywood of the 70s and the neo-noir of the 80s."--David Hudson, MUBI.com

About the Author

Matthew Sorrento teaches film at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. He is the film editor for Identity Theory and contributing editor for Film Threat, and regularly contributes to Film International and other publications.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786459204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786459209
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,697,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
A great overview of what Sorrento calls the new American Crime Film. The book feels utterly current and relevant. (That it contains a chapter on 'Winter's Bone' is a highlight, and so are the particularly insightful sections on Andrew Jarecki and David Lynch.) I just turned 30 years old, so a lot of these movies were appearing in theaters when I was a teenager or in my early twenties - prime theater-going years. They helped form my tastes as a movie-lover, and Sorrento clearly has an affinity for the movies he discusses that separates this book from the majority of academic film writing. If I were teaching a class, I'd put this on the syllabus.
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Format: Paperback
As a fan of genre filmmaking, I wondered what a critical survey of a just a particular genre would read like. It's such an all-encompassing thing to write about that you run the risk of exclusion. I haven't had much previous experience in reading about film, aside from articles in magazines and chapters on certain movies for discussion in media classes. What I have read has been more along the lines of biographies of specific talents, like David Cronenberg or Woody Allen. Surprisingly, both are subjects in Matthew Sorrento's 2012 book of analysis on the recent resurgence of crime films, Tarantino not withstanding. Before I write any more, let me start by saying it was actually a great idea to deemphasize his works, since they tend to overshadow films by other American filmmakers as diverse as Spike Lee, Gus VanSant, and the Coen Brothers.

Thankfully, "The New American Crime Film," published by McFarland & Company, shows that the genre has been alive and well outside of the microcosm that is Tarantino. It focuses on a rather inclusive list of movies made between the years 1998 - 2010. The author teaches film at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. He also edits for the magazine Film Threat and the website Identity Theory among others. Basically, he knows his stuff. He also writes in a smart and accessible way. This helps to better appreciate movies you have already seen and thought you knew while, at the same time, fosters interest in the ones you may not have seen (yet). Mr. Sorrento deftly references past works, such as Billy Wilder's 1944 classic "Double Indemnity," and their impact on modern movies like Woody Allen's brilliant "Matchpoint" (2005) albeit an inverted influence in that instance. His approach is both absorbing and fresh.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"...it demands a change in the character".
Matthew Sorrento analyses many directors. There are: Gus Van Sant, David Mamet, Werner Herzog, Sam Raimi, Andrew Jarecki, Clint Eastwood, David Fincher, and of course the Coen Brothers. I certainly wouldn't associate some of them with the genre. There are also my all time favorite filmmakers - David Cronenberg and David Lynch.
Now I know that the crime movies are not just about crime, its detection, criminals and their motives. And no, I don't think I ever wanted to be a criminal like Stuart Gordon suggests. There's something more in crime movies that's fascinating me - sensibility, deeper truth, surrealism, also noir elements. Something that expose our deepest fears, tapping into each individual. Wherever there's something that's unknown, it has a pull to it.
This book is well worth noticing and noting. I really enjoyed it and waiting for more.
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