In the movie "Double Indemnity", Neff's last plan was to kill Phyllis and put the blame on Nino. However, a few minutes later (after killing Phyllis), he changed his mind, and prevented Nino from entering the house, thus saving him from the potential charge of murdering Phyllis.

Why did Neff change his mind?

1 Answer 1


Noir protagonists need to be self-aware by the end of the story, and by preventing Nino (who was a little bent but basically innocent) from getting embroiled with Phyllis he's showing he's learned his character's lessons.

Narrative-wise, recognizing and owning up to his fault was what killed him, not Phyllis's bullet (because once he's learned his lesson he's of no further use to the author).

  • Thanks, but your explanation is not based on the story, itself. It's based on the genre and what it imposes on the writer, isn't it? Jan 9, 2014 at 12:06
  • You're right. In the movie world, Neff loves Lola and wants her to be happy. Nino is kind of a dolt but she loves him, and so Neff directs him back to her.
    – lonstar
    Jan 9, 2014 at 20:56
  • Well, that does make sense: Neff thought that Nino and Phyllis have an affair, and knew it was not the case just before killing her. So this reason to save Nino from being caught for murder could necessarily emerge AFTER his former plan (to put the blame on Nino). What do you think? Jan 10, 2014 at 10:49
  • I am not sure Nino and Phyllis were actually having an affair, but he was definitely seeing her on the sly. Neff figured she was setting up Nino to kill Neff the way she had set up Neff to kill her husband. I think he also did have feelings for Lola and wanted her to be happy, and she was happy with Nino, so he saved Nino from being sucked into Phyllis's web.
    – lonstar
    Jan 10, 2014 at 20:13

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