The decade of great neo-noirs is the 1990s. To name a few: One False Move (1992), The Last Seduction (1994), Glass Shield (1995), Devil In A Blue Dress (1995), Bound (1996). A number of these films were directed by black men, and many had complicated racial themes. One of the more curious neo-noirs that had an unmentioned but powerful racial theme (and powerful precisely because it is not mentioned) is Suture (1993).
The film stars the hunk of all hunks, Dennis Haysbert (Clay Arlington), and the sleaze of nearly all sleazes, Micheal Harris (Vincent Towers). When the movie begins, Clay, who is black, walks off a bus and is met by Vincent. We soon learn Clay is Vincent's poorer half-brother. But Clay once wants nothing from rich Vincent and is happy to keep their relationship a secret. This makes sense. Clay looks and carries himself like a proud black man; and Vincent may not want his rich white friends to know he has a poor black brother. But after something bad happens to Clay, we realize that he is not playing his color. He is playing white. In the film's world, he almost looks like Vincent. This is neo-noir at its strangest and boldest. The 1990s certainly accelerated film thinking on race and sexuality (see Set It Off, 1996).
Suture screens tonight at 7 p.m..