John Dahl and the Neo-Noir (DVD)


Born in 1956 in Billings, Montana, John Dahl eventually graduated with a film degree from Montana State University (Bozeman), and earned an MFA from the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. Based on extensive interview footage with Dahl, this DVD concentrates his breakthrough as a feature film director with his first three movies made over a five year period: 1989 – 1994: Kill Me Again; Red Rock West; The Last Seduction. For many critics these three movies constitute the core of Hollywood’s new ‘film noir’ based on complicated stories filled with twists, evil-doing femmes fatales, and naïve and inexperienced male protagonists who fall victim to them. Unlike the classic Hollywood noir films of the 1940s and and 1950s these movies were in color (not black and white) and portrayed sexuality abd violence graphically. In his first five years as a feature director, Dahl worked with a dazzling array of screen stars, such as Val Kilmer, Joanna Whalley-Kilmer, Lara Flynn Boyle, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Linda Fiorentino and Peter Berg, as well as with  J.T. Walsh, Michael Madsen, and Bill Pullman. Narrated by Cara Wilder, this DVD uses clips from each off these three movies to illustrate interpretive points in telling the story of an emerging director and the creation of a new movie genre. This highly informative DVD weaves Dahl’s story: the former Boy Scout and country boy from Montana who first made a cottage industry out of the new ‘film noir,’ and who subsequently became the big city’s prominent director of features films (Rounders, Joy Ride, The Great Raid, and others, as well as a master director for episodic television, including Dexter, Californication, True Blood, etc.).

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