In this discussion of episode 4, “Old Cases,” Paul Bond provides a clinic on examining this episodes use of color, visual rhyming, the noir aesthetic, and more. His post here provides some excellent notes for this discussion, or even a great resource on its own. This discussion provides close analysis of the visual themes at work in The Wire that you might miss on the first run.
Another part of the discussion covers this idea of institutional noir in The Wire. In the 1940s film noir provided a vision of a violent, criminal post-war America. Noir was defined by ethically borderline characters that often stood outside institutions. In Simon’s series, the institutional power structure are now producing these shady characters. A post-industrial, institutional reality reflecting the dehumanizing horror of late capital. An institutional noir filled with cubicals, high-rises, burnt out projects, and abandoned row houses. A word dystopian world of haves and have-nots that isn’t scifi.
And there was even more, so check out the video, follow the links to the posts, or get blogging your own ideas, hippies!