The high contrast lighting that became the staple of film noir projects shadows that reflect the emotions of the characters and events of the film. Known to reveal more about a character’s true intentions than their words, the lighting diminishes some of the mystery around a character.
In the picture above, the bars casted across the man’s face represent a feeling of entrapment. The eyes are the only part of his face left in the light, signaling that he is looking out of a “prison cell.” This “prison cell” is symbolic of the mental isolation that most male characters experience in noir films. A femme fatale has most likely cornered this man into a situation with no escape.