Top 10: Films That Influenced The Dirty Kind
The Dirty Kind — the 2nd feature from writer/director Vilan Trub — is a neo-noir that gives audiences a fresh take on the tired detective trope. Drawing influence from a diverse selection of crime and noir thrillers, Trub has 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. If you haven’t read our review yet, you can do so here. You can also check out our conversations with writer/director Vilan Trub here for more insight and background into the film and its production.
We had the opportunity to chat with Trub at length regarding The Dirty Kind and all the films that helped give it shape and definition. In no particular order, here’s the ten films that made the biggest impact on Trub and the project:
Blood Simple (1984)
“Blood Simple was a very big inspiration in terms of flow and how I wanted the story to unravel. With any film noir, bad shit happens, and what’s great about Blood Simple is the way the Coen brothers unravel that bad shit and how it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. The tone of that movie was a big inspiration as well. When I was making The Dirty Kind, I wanted it to be a very intense movie with uncomfortable humor, and definitely, a lot of that came from Blood Simple.”
“Fargo was a huge inspiration in terms of the script and its structure. What that movie does is introduce the protagonist in the second act, and the whole first act is pretty much exposition. There’s no mystery with Fargo, and I didn’t want The Dirty Kind to be a mystery. That was the one thing I was dead certain about. A lot of people try to set out to make a movie where the challenge is creating that twist — the big “gotcha moment” at the end — but for me, the challenge is making a movie where you know what happens and it’s still interesting. That’s something I feel Fargo does very well. You can watch it over and over and still be entertained.”
Killer’s Kiss (1955)
“I’d previously made a movie, Susie Q, that was inspired by the French new wave. It was black and white, and stylistically, it did things that aren’t necessarily friendly to general audiences. It was a freshman effort and —although I’m proud of the fact that I made the movie — I consider it a failure. I’m a student of cinema and also study filmmakers and their careers, and Stanley Kubrick is a big inspiration to me. I remember reading an interview where he discussed his first film, Fear and Desire, a very philosophical and artistic tale, and that he considered it to be a failure. But his failure ultimately made him decide to do something rooted in a genre because it gave him a foundation to build off of. That’s why I decided to focus on a genre with my next feature, and I eventually settled on the crime thriller genre. I felt most comfortable and suitable sharping my teeth on that. I love the crime-thriller genre and living in Queens, NY had access to a wonderful outer-borough to film such a movie.”
The Limey (1999)
“The Limey was a film that I first encountered during post-production on The Dirty Kind, and it’s very stylistic with it’s cutting and very jumbled. At first, it looked sloppy to me, but as it kept going on, I became so sucked into its story that the style didn’t matter to me. It just became part of everything, this big ball of yarn that Soderbergh was giving the audience. The Dirty Kind was shot hampered by no budget and no shooting schedule over nine days, so it obviously has its flaws, but I was very confident in two things: the script and the acting of Duke Williams. Seeing The Limey made me sit back and relax. It allowed me to focus less on making the perfect cuts and more on the story and acting, allowing that to take over from beginning to end. The Limey really gave me the confidence and helped me be able to do that.”
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
“An influence in terms of the criminal structure is The Friends of Eddie Coyle, which is about smalltime gangsters in Boston. One of the things I love about this film is that it’s not showing these extravagant, slick gangsters, wearing three-piece suits out in night clubs drinking cocktails all night. In The Friends of Eddie Coyle, they’re out at a hockey game drinking beer. That’s who these criminals are, blue-collar criminals, not Sam Rothstein. That’s something I wanted to portray, as well as the fact that it’s not a tight-knit world. They’re all friends, but there’s a lot of backstabbing, which causes you to wonder how they came in contact with each other and if they’re really friends.”
Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
“François Truffaut is one of my favorite directors. There’s a lot of great directors who make great movies, but I don’t necessarily feel like they understand cinema. Truffaut was one of those people that understood it. What I pulled from Shoot the Piano Player for The Dirty Kind was regarding its relationship between the two bandits in the film. I just found their relationship so hilarious, and that’s something I wanted for Mickey and John. I didn’t use that dynamic as humorously as Shoot the Piano Player, but you enjoy being a fly on the wall watching them get under each other’s skin.”
Touch of Evil (1958)
“Touch of Evil was a huge visual influence on The Dirty Kind. Orson Welles came from a world a theater, and when he came to cinema, he was very adamant on using wide lens to show the whole wold. I fucking love that. I actually used the same lens Welles used in Touch of Evil, an Angenieux 18.5mm, for a lot of the film. In terms of the story, with Touch of Evil, Welles took what was supposed to be a shit story — this pulpy novel that everyone considered to be a bad book — and he turned it into a phenomenal movie. It’s full of shit people, but you can still have a conversation with any one of them, and that’s something that I wanted to bring to The Dirty Kind.”
The Wrong Man (1956)
“This is one of those movies that I saw and just fell in love with the simplicity of it. I love the way Hitchcock films the story. The Wrong Man follows is all about characters reacting to a situation and how their reaction change them, and that’s something with The Dirty Kind I wanted to focus on. The way the events in The Dirty Kind change Raymond — the main character — is much different than The Wrong Man, but I wanted to capture the same kind of feel where a character falls into something and has to navigate through it.”
The Third Man (1949)
“This is another one of those that I fucking love, and it keeps popping up in everything I do. I’ve seen it so many times, and it’s one of those films still holds up even though its 70 years old. I still recommend it to people, who walk away going, ‘Wow, what a great fucking movie.’ A lot of that has to do with the fresh way Carol Reed told that story. It’s, again, another one of those stories where a character ends up going on a journey and discovers a dark side of themselves, which I used as a frame of reference for Raymond. The Third Man also doesn’t have a happy ending or a sad ending; it just concludes its story, and the characters move on, the world still exists. That’s the kind of feel I wanted to give to The Dirty Kind.”
“In terms of intensity and flow, another big influence for me was Manhunter by Michael Mann. That movie is so goddamn intense from beginning to end. I read this thing recently that said that, scientifically, you’re supposed to break tension in a movie every 3 minutes — that’s what, you know, all the best movies do, anyway. And, I’m thinking, rules are meant to be broken. I mean, you look at a movie like Manhunter, and that tension is not broken for its entire duration — from beginning to end, it’s sooo intense. It’s funny too because it almost seems like the entire movie is just scenes of people looking at each other, not even saying anything, yet you know there’s bad shit going on it this world and there’s a lot at stake. I wanted to put a lot of that into The Dirty Kind.”
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.
You can follow Vilan throughout his endeavors via the links below:
What do you think? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!