Walter Neff is an ambiguous character. As smart and independent he is, he still falls into the trap of his masculine desires and becomes controlled by his feelings to Mrs Dietrichson. Indeed, Neff shows his somewhat heroic qualities, by being eager to help the ‘damsel in distress’ and by opening his caring father-like side when being with Lola. He is successful at work, confident and intelligent, which is to a certain extent proved by his ingenious plan to murder Phyllis’ husband. However he is portrayed to have questionable morals. The fact that he pursues an affair with a married woman so easily makes audience wonder if this was a first similar relationship with his client. Like pretty much all characters in films noir, Walter is not devoid of some pernicious habits like smoking and drinking. And most importantly, he commits a murder, twice. The motifs for both crimes are tightly connected with the femme fatale.
Walter Neff is shown to be susceptible to let his emotions…show more content… They put the audience in a tricky position: although they are presented with despicable people, somehow they get charmed by the femme fatale and sympathize with the protagonist who performs the amoral actions for her.
As we can see, film noir had a positive response from the audience of the time and still continues to fascinate film scholars today. Is the film noir a genre? This is one of the most contentious issues in film theory. Until the end of the 70s French and then American critics regarded film noir not as a genre, but as tone, mood, or style. Paul Schrader even offered to consider as a kind of noir period in the history of cinema, such as the ‘new wave’ or neo-realism (1972). And only in the end of the 70s articles began to appear, offering to consider noir as a genre with its own formula and the structure of the narrative