The Dirty Kind Gives Noir A New Angle
From the mind of Vilan Trub (Susie Q) — and the muscle of Michael Madsen (who executive produced) — comes The Dirty Kind, “a hard-boiled movie for a hard-boiled world.” The film marks Trub’s sophomore effort, and it strives to give new perspective to the familiar detective story and illuminate areas of Queens, New York, which have yet to be prominently featured cinematically.
Raymond (Duke Williams), a young private investigator specializing in divorce, gets too ambitious and takes on a case that involves more than just snapping pictures of cheating couples. While searching for the estranged daughter of a client, Raymond discovers that she works as a stripper under the name Natalie Cottontail. Natalie’s exploits bring together a desperate collection of lost souls – sucking everyone down a drain of despair.
Commonly in film noir, the detective is depicted as a hapless misfit, grizzled and cynical, way past their prime and living day to day without much of a future. Luckily, The Dirty Kind isn’t interested in bringing the same tired representation to screen, and its fresh angle is sure to give genre enthusiasts a real treat. Trub smartly inverts the stereotype, presenting us with the young and ambitious, Raymond (Duke Williams), a private investigator with dreams of a bright future.
Unaware that his career trajectory is about to bring him face to face with a pretty despicable crowd, the audience watches as Raymond embarks on the case that turns a young professional into something out of a Raymond Chandler novel. In many ways, it’s a loss of innocence noir, the spiritual prequel to the detectives we know and love from genre classics like Chinatown and The Big Sleep. It’s the case before the BIG case, and as the The Dirty Kind shows us, it’s one that will define the rest of Raymond’s life.
Trub has essentially crafted a love letter to the genre — stained with grit, grime, and bodily fluid — that pays homage to its familiar trappings while offering a sprinkle of nuance on top. He has a clear enthusiasm for the subject matter, which gives the film an added element of charm, but being a young filmmaker, it’s evident that he’s still finding his way. However, given the time and budgetary limitations — it was shot in 9 days on a limited budget — Trub shows that he can work under pressure and return results, displaying a lot of promise and a keen eye.
A real slow burner with a few genuine surprises up its sleeve, The Dirty Kind eschews action, focusing its efforts on character and mood, and in that respect it finds a large amount of success. Structurally, the film draws a lot of influence from the Coen brother’s Fargo, delivering a lot of exposition up front and introducing the main character in the film’s second act. By keeping the audience in the know, Trub allows them to sit back, soak up the characters, and watch Raymond as he attempts to unravel the mystery.
All in all, The Dirty Kind is an akin to a rough diamond; there’s lots of cloudy areas and jagged edges (some of which add to the appeal) with pockets of clarity and brilliance. You can catch The Dirty Kind May 2 at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, California, or at the Music Hall from May 3-9 in Beverly Hills, California. If you don’t reside in the Golden State, don’t fret. The film will be available on VOD and DVD later this summer.
Recommendation: If you’re a genre enthusiast, you definitely need to add The Dirty Kind to your watchlist!
Rating: 3 cigarettes outta 5.
What do you think? We want to know. Share you thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!