The most pervasive genre in contemporary cinema, the American crime film has recently enjoyed a new surge of popularity and proliferation. Though these innovative films now tackle topical issues, they continue to reference the classic narratives and archetypes established in the great crime pictures of past decades. The titles explored in this critical survey span many themes that have fused with other genres to create fascinating filmic hybrids. Focusing on character and plot construction, the author highlights the gangster and film noir traditions that still run strongly through recent American cinema. Among the many filmmakers analyzed within these pages are David Lynch, Gus Van Sant, David Mamet, Werner Herzog, Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg and the Coen Brothers. Stuart Gordon, director of the cult classic Re-Animator, provides the lively and incisive foreword.