Suspects (2020)

Suspects David Thomson Suspects Noah Cross Norma Desmond Norman Bates Harry Lime these are a few of nearly names that inhabit the mind of the narrator as he starts to compose short biographies of some of the most famous chara
  • Title: Suspects
  • Author: David Thomson
  • ISBN: 9780394744681
  • Page: 131
  • Format: Paperback
Suspects David Thomson Noah Cross, Norma Desmond, Norman Bates, Harry Lime these are a few of nearly 100 names that inhabit the mind of the narrator as he starts to compose short biographies of some of the most famous characters in the history of film noir He sketches in whole lives, lives as intense as the dreams put up on the screen The book begins to become a novel when the characters startNoah Cross, Norma Desmond, Norman Bates, Harry Lime these are a few of nearly 100 names that inhabit the mind of the narrator as he starts to compose short biographies of some of the most famous characters in the history of film noir He sketches in whole lives, lives as intense as the dreams put up on the screen The book begins to become a novel when the characters start to meet each other outside their respective films as if they were real people with needs and passions The names and faces are familiar to us Jake Gittes from Chinatown, Laura Hunt and Waldo Lydecker from Laura, Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca but is it true that Noah Cross and Norma Desmond were lovers in the 1920s, that she and Joe Gillis had a son who grew up to be Julian Kay in American Gigolo The narrator is not merely the author, he has a mission to carry out a lost family link to find, a thread to pull so that nearly all these disparate characters come together to form a kind of society Ultimately this examination on how movies affect audiences not only shaping perceptions and memories, but in some ways coming to stand in for them can also be read as an unsettling examination of identity and the construction of self through the medium of narratives or simply as a fascinating take on movie fandom.
Suspects David Thomson

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One thought on “Suspects

  1. Darren

    Almost all of David Thomson s writing is conceptual in one way or another, mixing suspected fact with outright fiction his Biographical Dictionary of Film critiques the lives of motion picture performers as if their very existence was an artistic performance, and each of their film was a subplot along the way The Whole Equation spins a history of Hollywood using, for primary sources, Fitzgerald s book The Last Tycoon and Robert Towne s script for Chinatown both, Thomson argues, unfinished works [...]

  2. Linton

    A frustrating book I love the concept of combining various noir characters into a single world, but while Thomson has fun mixing and matching different personalities, he cheats far too often.For one thing, Bedford Falls is in New York, not Nebraska And George Bailey s kids aren t who he says they are There was no Travis or Sally And for that matter, where is Zuzu Wouldn t it be worth knowing what happened her According to the book, Bailey didn t even have kids until after the events of It s a Wo [...]

  3. Jarvo

    David Thomson is the author of a dictionary of film which is one of the most important and influential works of film criticism Someone asked him if he was going to write a dictionary of film characters, he was intrigued by the idea and this book is the result I am not aware of anything else quite like it The book contains fictional biographies of 100 or so characters whose origin was in one or other film Incident from the within is nearly always discussed, but the book gives the characters a bac [...]

  4. Matt

    I love Thomson, and there s a lot of fun, interesting, insightful stuff here Who doesn t watch movies and give the characters backstory, wondering what their lives before and after we meet them on film A lot of the ones he gives these characters are vivid and complex, showing that he s really picked up on the nuances of certain moments, gestures, lines, etc He s a master critic for a reason But two problems one, if you haven t seen the movies he s taking inspiration from then his reveries about [...]

  5. James Bowman

    I didn t go into this demanding much just a series of intriguing fictional biographies that interconnected with each other over the course of the novel And to be fair, most of the biographies are well written, and many are interesting A few are even touching But there are two major flaws that kept me from really enjoying this book 1 To really appreciate this as a whole, you need to be familiar with all of the characters source films This is especially noticeable with some of the less famous film [...]

  6. Bruce Reid

    One of the great books on film no, movies, and the pall they can cast over the willing and obsessive Several dozen biographies of movie characters, interwoven to delineate a conspiracy as dark and haunted as in any noir By the end, a strange and sad tribute to that urge to leap into the screen and wander for ourselves the back alleys of Casablanca, the halls of the Overlook, or the scenic highlights of San Francisco always just out of Madeleine s sight.

  7. Kevin

    An unusual and clever book Some probably think too clever and contrived Thomson creates back stories for movie characters, focusing on film noir and crime movies of the 30s through 50s, but also modern films like Chinatown Many of the characters are connected by family or fate in Thomson s world Travis Bickle is George Bailey s son look it up He has written the book as a series of short character sketches which focus on the dark side of middle America, where most of his characters have their ro [...]

  8. Joe

    Seemed like a sure thing for a cinephile, but I struggled to get through this book at times I ve seen just about all of the films included, and found myself alternately enthralled and perturbed I recommend Steve Erickson s Zeroville as a much successful and entertaining book for film nerds.

  9. Leonard Pierce

    Picked this up finally on the advice of Gary Mairs, and it was quite worth it It s an interesting critical meditation on film noir under the guise of a rather clever bit of metatextual fiction Recommended.

  10. Paul Hayes

    If you love film noir, or for that matter 20th century American history, you ll love this Brilliantly, clinically, written Probably the best illustration I ve seen of how film and it s characters and plots entered our psyches, and how truth and fiction have become intertwined in our heads.

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