Laura has a haunting mood enhanced by the well-known musical score, itself based on a haunting melody that does a good job of capturing the combination of the hidden romantic nature of the detective and the angst he experiences in this non-romantic world. The film is modernist in its sensibilities, for it questions the surface truths and implies hidden agendas and deeper meanings in the interactions of its characters. At the same time, the plot of this film is more classical in its structure than would be true for many in the film noir style. Laura does have a number of flashbacks as various characters tell their story, but the main line of the film is more chronological than a film noir such as Out of the Past or even Murder, My Sweet, a classic detective story given added resonance by seeming to be in the past because of the narration. Laura is not so narrated, but it also seems to have a disjointed time sense in the way it begins with Laura dead and then deals with her alive, in the way it seems to begin in the middle of things and then fleshes out the past that led to the current situation, and in the way one event in the past--the murder--hangs over every scene.
One of the key elements of the film noir style is a sense that events outpace human capabilities to cope with them. In the more modernist structure of Laura, this is not an element that is heightened. The detective does finally solve the crime and so proves himself able to deal with the complexities of life, at least on the job. In Blood Simple, however, the word "simple" in the title is deliberately ironic. The plot could be stated in a direct and simple fashion--a husband hires a sleazy private detective to kill his wife and her lover but is killed by them himself, after which the detective goes after them for money and revenge. Yet, the story unfolds in anything but a simple fashion, so that by the end it is not clear what is happening, what each of the characters believes about the situ