Dyer's first novel, The Colour of Memory, is considered by many to be the only significant work of fiction to come out of the slacker movement. His preparation for writing a book about hanging out in Brixton, unemployed, smoking too much dope, was to live exactly that lifestyle for many years. But do not imagine that Dyer - who later wrote the best-selling Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It - lacks any direction: his writing is rammed with a bewildering array of cultural references that at some point he has found the time and energy to digest.
The loneliness that comes with the modern metropolis—like Los Angeles, where Constantine resides—has a different tenor than loneliness anywhere else. It’s magnified to such a great degree in part because of the bizarre effects of population density. Everyone handles loneliness differently. Many, like Constantine, take to trying on addictions and seeing which fit. And addiction aside, most people dealing with loneliness—including myself—acquire weird habits to fill the darkness. A small moment about thirty minutes into "Constantine" (just before he meets Rachel Weisz ’ earnest, Catholic cop who has yet to realize she’s being swept up in a battle between heaven and hell) illustrates the idiosyncrasies that come with loneliness.
Paris Belongs to Us is visibly influenced by Lang as well as by Robert Aldrich’s noir thriller Kiss Me Deadly (1955), a violent detective story in which anxieties about the atomic bomb are dovetailed into the myth of Pandora’s box. Both films follow an aesthetic for conspiracy theories by positing white, the fusion of all other colors, as the “final solution” for rendering the illegibility of modern life in legible form. In Aldrich’s film, the quest is for a strongbox containing plutonium that emits a blinding white light when opened and ultimately unleashes a nuclear holocaust that concludes the movie. Similarly, a pivotal sequence in Paris Belongs to Us shows several characters watching the Tower of Babel sequence in Lang’s Metropolis until the film suddenly breaks and they’re confronted by the gaping stare of a blank white screen. The Tower of Babel myth evokes Pynchon’s notion of anti-paranoia—the chaos arising from the multiplicity of languages and the breakdown of communication—just as surely as Pandora’s box posits the solution to that impasse in apocalyptic terms. Like the whiteness of the bathroom where The Conversation ’s bugger arrives at his own bloody conclusion—a climax that can be traced back to the bathroom murders of Les Diaboliques and Psycho —these white enamel revelations become in effect blank sheets of paper on which the paranoid message gets written.