For the film design portion of noir106 this week I chose to watch The Big Lebowski. After watching, I can definitely say that was one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. On a more specific note, it definitely wasn’t a prototypical noir film. However, it did contain many elements of theme and design that are very noir. Many of the scenes took place at night, and the cityscape was very decrepit and derelict. The setting was Los Angeles in the early 90’s, but it was a rather run-down part of LA, whose features included a dirty bowling alley in a vacant lot, and a crummy, unkept apartment. The spacious design of the landscape gave an abandoned, neglected vibe that I thought characterized film noir very well. The elements of dilapidation and disrepair that were rampant in the film transcend time and place, and contributed to the somber mood. They were exemplified in objects such as The Dude’s rusted-out old car, and his overall hygiene and appearance, but they are elements that can be seen in many different works of noir. Overall, the design elements in The Big Lebowski embody themes of bleakness, menace, alienation, and desperation that are common in film noir.

2 comments on “The Big Lebowski

  1. Janelle Pierangelino

    I completely agree with you about it being one of the weirdest movies I have seen as well! My roommate was hearing make commentary while watching it, going “What…what..WHAT!?” But I like you you took note of the noir-type settings that were in the film, such as the vacant lots, dark alleyways. I like how you said that it creates a sense of alienation through these types of settings since most of the parking lots, for example, were empty and dark, making them a bit more ominous, especially when the Russians were there with the burning car. Good job!

  2. Janelle Pierangelino

    I felt the exact same way about this film being one of the strangest ones. My roommate heard my commentary throughout the film, me going “…what…WHAT?! Why?”
    I like how you addressed that the vacant lots and dark alleyways help to create a noir-type setting. With that, I also liked how you said these settings created a sense of alienation that is found in noir films, to better create suspense for the characters. I noticed this when the Russians were in front of Dude’s burning car in the parking lot. Good job identifying these qualities.

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