Final Femme Fatale

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Film noir’s portrayal of the “femme fatale” supports the existing social order by building up a powerful, independent woman, only to punish her. To what extent do you agree with this in relation to the portrayal of women in ‘LA Noire’?

Elsa is the perfect example of the femme fatale her character becomes an object of mystery and enchantment for Cole, leading him to pursue a relationship with her. She becomes independent and the center of his (and the players) attention as she sets out to help Cole in his investigation. However her character is shown to be nothing more than a weak, susceptible woman as she takes Fontaine at face value. She is much too trusting and therefore ends up paying the price for her troubles. At the end she too is taken hostage and eventually she not only loses her respect but also her powerful persona. She is able to bend Cole’s mind to do her bidding however she is not able to do this to everyone, Fontaine is a good example of this. Psychologically she is clearly a powerful woman with the ability to draw in the people around her however she is unable to physically manifest this ability. The only true punishment I would say she endures is the loss of Cole. However is Cole’s death really a punishment for her? Cole seems to be the one to have the biggest punishment he loses his family, his job, his credibility and his life all of his own accord and by his own doing. She herself does not die she is still alive, so is this not a triumph? Perhaps her relationship suffers but she does not pay the price that Cole has to pay. In my opinion I would say Cole is the one to truly pay the price with his life. The rest of the characters are a byproduct of his efforts and his decisions. Therefore I would say that the role of the femme fatale covertly triumphs in this game. Elsa steadily begins to excel in the background of the game; she is the one to rise whilst Cole begins a slow destructive decline, leading to his own downfall.

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