The film noir genre of the 1940′s and 1950′s was one of the most amazing film movements in history. While there are not very many films reflecting the pure form of the genre, the influence of it can be seen in many motion pictures. It even crosses genres and presents its conventions in works such as Bladerunner and The Dark Knight.
However, it is the traditional crime film that allows a noir picture to be true to its form. Film noir means “dark film” and it reflects a style of film making that roots itself in a dark, depressing world of anti-heroes and villains. Such a gritty realm allows crime to take on a decidedly more emotionally real presentation. This allows the proceedings of the film to completely draw you into the mix in a manner not common in other styles of crime films. This is what allows this genre to truly stand out.
This is not to say that the film noir genre is a completely realistic portrayal of crime. Police procedurals would be more realistic than noir films which are much more rooted in melodrama. The dark, shadowy black and white cinematography further adds to the melodramatic and highly effective presentation of crime on film.