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Sunshine Noir

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Sunshine Noir combines elements of Shining City and City Noir. The setting may be a Crapsaccharine World that looks a glamorous and glitzy place but it's filled with gangsters, drug deals gone wrong, undercover police officers, criminal drifters, violent youths; you name it. However, the setting does not necessarily look like a Crapsaccharine World.

This setting either tries to accentuate how lively it is, or is filled with beautiful sunshine and stylish chrome cars. Expect signs in the background (or the opening credits/title page of the story) to include a colorful neon font. Expect there to be a huge focus on vibrant, neon-lit nightlife in these kinds of settings. If not, expect to hear upbeat, poppy music playing in the background as undercover detectives bust a drug deal or as a young getaway driver makes his great escape. Often, in this setting, there is a juxtaposition of happy scenes set in broad daylight with events that would normally mark a Wretched Hive. However, unlike a Wretched Hive, this setting tends to be clean and polished. The setting in this peculiar type of Noir is usually a Vice City, that looks particularly fun on the surface, with charming characters and colorful and quirky fashions. However, it is, at its core, a Crapsaccharine World where dodgy dealings are the norm. May sometimes overlap with Cyberpunk. May make liberal use of Warm Place, Warm Lighting; expect orange and yellow filters.

This term was originally coined by Drive author James Sallis to describe his novels.

Not to be confused with film soleil, which is (roughly) quirky Neo-Noir in a New Old West setting. Also see Hellish L.A. and Sinister Southwest.


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    Fims — Animated 
  • Felidae has many of its investigations made during the daytime and in a quaint suburb. Making the cat-on-cat violence all the more horrifying.
  • Foodfight! is almost always sunny with elements of film noir, but considering how much of a trainwreck the film is, it remains a mystery as to whether or not this was even intentional.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chinatown: The Trope Codifier, famous for its golden yellow cinematography. According to an interview with Roman Polański, Robert Towne was furious when he saw the sunny colors he was using. When Towne wrote the script, he assumed the film would have the dark red filter The Godfather had made so popular.
  • Drive (2011). Pretty neon, chrome, sunshine, and an upbeat pop soundtrack juxtaposed with a serious crime drama.
  • Ida Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker is set on the backdrop of sunny Mexico, but has the story of a psycho killer kidnapping two friends.
  • Kid Detective (2020) has the hallmarks of a noir (seedy underbelly, corrupt officials, flawed detective) but is set in a sunny, quaint little town.
  • L.A. Confidential: jaded, morally-ambiguous police officers and tragic femmes fatales try to figure it all out in sunny Los Angeles.
  • Woman on the Run takes place in San Francisco and would be much brighter if it was filmed in colour. Even so, it's a sunny looking Film Noir from the classic era.
  • Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye is an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name, but has many scenes drenched in the California sunlight.
  • To Live and Die in L.A.
  • Mulholland Falls: Despite what the movie poster implies, most scenes take place in bright Californian light.
  • The Naked City: Instead of depicting the "dark side" of the city (rain, night, lonesome streets etc.), the film shows us a vital city in summer, mostly by day (and during a Heat Wave no less).
  • Pok√©mon Detective Pikachu has a noir-ish story set in neon-lit Ryme City.
  • The Pusher film trilogy. This kind of setting is emphasized heavily in the remake, which uses bright, colorful urban environments and an upbeat electronic soundtrack to frame a relatively grim story of seedy dealings.
  • The Reckless Moment is all shot in sunny California in a upper-class suburban neighborhood.
  • Romeo is Bleeding: More than half of the film takes place during bright summer days.
  • Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet recasts the Montagues and Capulets as ruthless crime families in a fictitious setting that is a sunny, nightlife-driven mashup of SoCal and the Miami-Dade area, with Tybalt as a mob enforcer, Mercutio as a local club rat, and Friar Laurence as a priest who moonlights as a drug farmer.
  • Suicide Squad (2016) is dark and the main protagonists are all criminals or morally gray government workers. Fitting the dangerous-but-occasionally-quirky aspects of the titular squad, bright colors interrupt the grim landscape, from oddly dyed hair to screaming neon lights. The credits are a kaleidoscopic vision of symbols of the characters in bright neons.
  • Under the Silver Lake, which pays homage to many classic noir elements, revolves around an amateur detective trying to unravel a vast criminal conspiracy in Los Angeles' vibrant scene of hipsters and aspiring artists. Much of the story takes place either in broad daylight or in neon-lit night clubs frequented by colorful characters in equally colorful costumes.
  • Welcome to Acapulco, takes place in the nice, sunny, and beautiful, but rather treacherous and crime-ridden Acapulco Mexico, with a not-so-good chance of being chased, attacked, and surrounded by conmen, thieves, degenerates, lowlives, thugs, and criminals.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a somewhat gritty detective noir lined with cheery and goofy elements provided by the animated characters that exists in the film's world. Toontown could most notably highlight this as it appears all silly, vibrant and happy, but can actually be a dangerous place for humans.
  • Palmetto is a Neo-Noir set in sunny and humid Palmetto, Florida.


    Live-Action TV 
  • I Am the Night: Takes place in sunny LA during 1960s, complete with the protagonist stalking a starlet on a Malibu beach.
  • Innocent: A neo-noir thriller set against the backdrop of a rustic seaside town surrounded by turquoise waters and sundappled forests.
  • Magnum, P.I., a detective show set in sunny Hawaii, featuring beaches, women in bikinis and men in flowery shirts, and including every single Noir trope you could possibly think of.
  • Miami Vice: Pastel colors combined with neon, 80's music, cool cars, and the perpetual sunny Miami weather is juxtaposed over episodes focused on drug dealers, murderers, and gangs. Combines this with Vice City.
  • Silk Stalkings is about sexy, noir-style crimes among the super-rich in glamorous Palm Beach, Florida. The color palette is noticeably bright.
  • Tropical Heat is set on the fictional island Key Mariah, which is beautiful, sunny and full of thugs.
  • Dexter combines grisly crime and serial murder with the bright, sunny and colorful backdrop of Miami.
  • Season 2 of Agent Carter, which is set in 1947, has Peggy Carter go to Los Angeles, where it's way sunnier than in New York City but where dark threats loom all the same.
  • Veronica Mars takes place in the town of Neptune, a playground for rich businessmen and their children. It's appropriately fancy and beach-adjacent, but there's not a pool in the region that hasn't been the site of a murder, an affair, or both.

    Video Games 
  • Hotline Miami, to varying degrees. It is certainly this in Biker's arc. In Jacket's arc it is definitely a Wretched Hive, although due to Sanity Slippage Jacket tends to be something of a Weirdness Magnet. The game has been stated to have been partially inspired by Drive (2011) as well.
  • L.A. Noire is a shining version of this trope, featuring all manner of crime, sleaze and mayhem taking place in a sun drenched 50's-era Los Angeles.
  • Max Payne 3 moves its nighttime NYC setting to sunny Brazil. Rather than a black leather jacket, Max spends most of the game wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt.
  • Southtown in Fatal Fury is constantly described as a crime-ridden hellhole. On the surface however, it looks just like another sundrenched American city on the west coast.
  • The City in Mirror's Edge is almost entirely white with some garishly bright colored highlights, with the sun glaring down from a cloudless sky in almost every level. At the same time it's almost devoid of signs of life and somewhat unsettlingly sterile.

    Western Animation