Towards a narrative definition of the American political thriller film
Palabras clave : 
Film narrative analysis
United States history
Hollywood film
Film genre
Political thriller
Fecha de publicación: 
Editorial : 
Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Castrillo, P. & Echart, P. (2015). Towards a narrative definition of the American political thriller film. Communication & Society 28(4), 109- 123.
The Hollywood political thriller is a film genre of unique relevance in the United States, often acting as a reflection of the fears and anxieties of its historical times. At the same time, however, the definition of its identity and boundaries still leaves room for further specification, perhaps due to the frequent consideration of the political thriller as part of the broader categories of either thriller narratives or political films. By revising the available literature and filmography and analyzing the narrative features of the classical political thriller, this article proposes a deeper definition of the genre that takes into account the nature of the broader ‘thriller’ category of films springing from a specific mode of crime fiction that focuses on a victim or threatened individual as its protagonist, depicts and conveys intense emotional states, portrays an unbalanced and highly existentialist worldview, and travels into the extraordinary while at the same time holding on to very concrete expectations of verisimilitude. The political thriller specifies this broader form of narration and links it to dramatic conflicts of political nature, investigative plots, reactive characters, historically grounded antagonists, a proximity to the sociopolitical history of the United States, and a certain iconography relating to institutional power. By establishing the main narrative traits of the political thriller, this definition hopes to lay the foundations for a better understanding of the genre, its history, and its seeming renaissance at the onset of the 21st Century

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