Suspects by David Thomson
Noah Cross, Norma Desmond, Norman Bates, Harry Limethese 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 filmsas if they were real people with needs and passions. The names and faces are familiar to usJake Gittes from Chinatown, Laura Hunt and Waldo Lydecker from Laura, Rick and Ilsa from Casablancabut 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 outa 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 audiencesnot only shaping perceptions and memories, but in some ways coming to stand in for themcan 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.