Presented by James M. Tate / 3/14/2017 / No comments / bruce dern , eighties , matt dillon , neo noir , nineties , remake , suspense , thriller
PROANTAGONIST: THE ECLECTIC NEO NOIR OF MATT DILLON
|Matt Dillon in the Noir remake A KISS BEFORE DYING|
The sudden contrast is reminiscent of the actual Chinese fighter fish i.e. RUMBLE FISH, the only colored objects (red) in an otherwise completely B&W film, steals the picture in Coppola's first of the two S.E. Hinton collaborations beginning with THE OUTSIDERS as the James Dean/Marlon Brando hybrid: A rogue rebel completely idolized by the two young central characters played by C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio...
|Lighting up THE OUTSIDERS|
|RITCHIE: "A kid who tells on another kid, is a dead kid."|
|Dillon's Noir Fetal Stage|
|Matt took aim directing his own Noir with CITY OF GHOSTS|
|Matt Dillon in a Noir Remake Year: 1991 Score: ***|
Though he's always a cool cat to watch, Matt's performance is stilted and awkward while Young does all the work, and yet... to paraphrase Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER about Albert Brooks... her energy goes in all the wrong places, trying to steal this wooden soap opera as a rich girl with a vulnerable and independent side, and pretty much failing on both counts: Dating the guy who the audience knows killed her twin sister as she's completely oblivious. It stops being as entertainingly fun when she begins to catch on and, with the help of cop turned gumshoe James Russo, she moves in on the psychopathic beau, who's already well liked by her millionaire father. The best parts involve a slow-burn body count of deaths in his Dillon's wake, including an actress, Martha Gehman, who played his sister in THE FLAMINGO KID. So Bad It's Good, which is practically a genre in itself, describes this one best: a delightfully corny howler with a melodramatic twist and a soundtrack so loud and dramatic you can hardly hear the bad dialogue.
|Year Released: 2002 Score: **1/2|
GHOSTS is visually hectic journey through Cambodia and, after a while you feel part of the city, with its ragged streets and vast outland of marshes and paddy fields where, throughout the film, actual Vietnamese music provides an offbeat anti-score, successfully keeping the edge up for the audience and the character, both lost in an unfamiliar maze of corruption and greed. It's just too bad we never get to see inside the Pandora's Box long enough to know what's really buzzing around in there. Meanwhile, Dillon himself, as co-writer and director, relies too much on sparse dialogue that almost says something while the camerawork is either shaky or extremely close-up on particular characters — perhaps just to see how guilty that are. And the deeper he gets in, the more suspense the character feels. Since Dillon's a good actor, he wears the strain and stress with an edgy prowess befitting both the predator and its prey. Only there's simply too much left out in the script — which aren't plot-holes, exactly, but more like intentional gaps to tighten the mystery that winds up being more convoluted than successfully oblique. Still, though, for an arthouse experience, there's enough intrigue to keep the viewer curious about the outcome.
|Year Released: 1987|
The best scenes are during the first half when everything is breezy and easy since all the characters are developed as much as can be — not through dialogue or backstory but their sly manipulation to the sport of gambling, and thinking on their toes...
And TOWN is important for being the third and final film Dillon starred alongside his RUMBLE FISH ingenue Diane Lane, which began with being goaded by him in THE OUTSIDERS. Much more grown up in looks and attitude, seeming more a connection to Francis Ford Coppola's uninspired COTTON CLUB than his Hinton adaptations, Lane provides a sexy and borderline sinister Femme Fatale as Jones's stripper trophy girl. Without the usual 11th hour gun, her danger exists on who she's cheating on while Matt could be throwing away the perfect girl in Suzy Amis — proving twenty-nine years after the demise of the Crime Genre that Film Noir good girls always have to weather hell before getting what they deserve, and who deserves them.
|Diane Lane and Matt Dillon TOWNScore: ***1/2|
He's an actor that's been in a some good, great and downright terrible films, but he's usually good no matter. Even when he seems a bit slow to the punch, or too streetwise and stubborn to stretch beyond particular tough guy roles, he's got range within limitations. In BIG TOWN, it's a steady gaze across a long green table. And hell, maybe he'd have worked in COLOR OF MONEY if that other Outsider backed out.
|Year Released: 2005|
Befitting the Noir template of this post, Dillon is far more ambiguous, letting others sort of tumble and weave around him while Rourke is a trapped animal pacing a small cage, which worked since that kind of marrow is found within Bukowski's work, but at times he sounds like the cartoon, Snagglepuss, "Stage left, already," and well... there's nothing wrong with going over the top but Dillon's performance is as narrowed and pointed as is FACTOTUM, which, unlike BARFLY's screenplay intended for a film to begin with, is one of Bukowski's best novels, following a drunk and hopeless yet wonderfully optimistic loser from job to job, and job to job...
Their time at the racetrack, if split into ten other scenes like it, would have made FACTOTUM stand out beyond the recognition from avant garde cinema enthusiasts and, like BARFLY, it would be remembered... Meanwhile, both films are Film Noir in their peak into the seedy nightlife with a character who's a glutton to everything, and yet shines beyond his demons and vices...
Dillon, with a tough guy voice that's kept him from playing sophisticated characters, is more than voice here as he's neither a tough guy or streetwise. He's just moping from location to location and seems untouched, which can be attributed to a decent script and a steady performance to match.
|Matt Dillon plays the heavy in KANSAS Year: 1988|
Their romance is the young love melodrama that's semi-involving but nothing compared to Dillon's body count b-story, despite the fact he, being more famous at the time, was first billed: He does, in fact, completely steal the picture, and yet, as good as he is being bad, there's not given enough freedom provided in the script to really spread his demon wings, and the performance seems stilted and limited at times... Although, unlike his other loony Noir antagonist in KISS BEFORE DYING, he's neither melodramatic or hammy.
|Dillon with gun, again in KANSAScore: ***1/2|
|Kyra Sedwick connects Matt to Kevin "Wild Things" Bacon|
|Year Released: 1989|
|Matt Dillon & Kelly Lynch|
|The moment we've been discussing|
IN CLOSING WITH GOLDEN GATE, WAYWARD PINES, WILD THINGS & A PAIR OF FAKE CHOMPERS: And really, truly, actually, that's not all. The Noir of Matt Dillon goes beyond even these films. For instance, in GOLDEN GATE he's a private eye during the 1950's, and the film, attempting CHINATOWN, falls rather flat but Dillon, visually, fits the part and would have been suited within that era of Brando, Dean and the likes. Meanwhile, his one-season stint on the TWIN PEAKS clone, WAYWARD PINES, which turned out being more of an X-FILES Film Noir, had Dillon as an agent figuring out a strange town that he seems to be completely trapped in, and boy it was great seeing him on a television series that started out awkwardly but picked up the pace, and again, as the sort of Pawn-Character that Matt Dillon has always portrayed, not saying a whole lot while absorbing people and places surrounding him...
|Dillon in nickel-plated Noir HD on WAYWARD PINES|
And hey, come to think of it, even in the most popular and effective of the few comedies he's been cast, The Farrelly Brother's THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, Dillon's character, Pat Healy, is a patronizing, lying, cheating Gumshoe, and plays it straight with the comedy around him... So basically, he just can't escape a genre that ended before he was born, and thereafter morphed into an endless array of Neo Noir, that he — in style and substance, voice, rhythm and groove — has been suited for, for so very long.