Assured director of modern film noirs who has injected new life into the genre with a series of tough, economical, and atmospheric tales. Dahl tells unsentimental stories of hopelessly stupid men who take the fall for beautiful dames. Whereas most movies of this ilk are set against the backdrop of urban L.A. or NYC, this Montana native finds the darkness in the heart of middle America, in claustrophobic towns surrounded by great open spaces. In an era of imitations, both cheap and lavish, he offers the real deal.
Dahl entered the industry as a storyboard artist on “A” films (“Something Wild” 1986; “Married to the Mob” 1988) and an assistant director on “B” genre fare (“The Dungeonmaster” 1983). He made his first feature as a student at Montana State University—“The Death Mutants” (1980), a horror/sci-fi send-up. Dahl moved to L.A. where he attended the American Film Institute as a directing fellow. After making some well-received shorts, including “The Ugliest Family in the World… read more
Linda Fiorentino's portrayal of the evil Wendy Kroy belongs in the pantheon of the great she-devils of the cinema. Dahl's direction is tight and economical, evoking the best of the world of classic film noir. There's plenty of sly humor and clever intrigue to keep the viewer interested, but I didn't find this one as engaging as Red Rock West. Still a great, under-appreciated, work.