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, he discovers that she works as a stripper under the name Natalie Cottontail (Victoria Wallace). Natalie’s exploits bring together a disparate collection of lost souls – sucking everyone down a drain of despair.
Early in the film, a man vomits on a wall for a really long time. Then the camera lingers on the vomit for far longer than you think it should. It is a perfect metaphor for the rest of the film. Difficult to watch, highly gratuitous, and utterly unnecessary this is the cinematic equivalent of a bad punk band.
Ostensibly it is about a P.I. trying to find a missing girl, but really it’s about 85 minutes of nonsense. Made on a micro-budget, it defines the term “indie,” which isn’t a bad thing. Good indie films can transcend their humble origins and even elevate the art form. But, The Dirty Kind and director Vlan Trub wallows in its complete lack of budget, expertise, or talent. If anything, it is a master class of ways to make a bad film.
“…gets too ambitious and takes on a case that involves more than just snapping pictures of cheating couples…”
Note to aspiring filmmakers. Learn how to use the sound equipment. Yes, I know framing a scene, and character motivation are all fun, but please don’t underestimate the importance of sound. If the post-production dub makes it look like a foreign film, we will be taken out of the story. And if you don’t want to learn, get someone on your crew who knows how to run it.
Also, shooting the back of someone’s head might seem more “realistic,” but occasionally, you might not want to have that dominate the whole picture. It could be a drinking game since the first half of the film has several scenes where the back of someone’s head just completely fills the screen. Take a shot every time a character is talking with their back to you, and you’ll be good and hammered by the third act.
The story doesn’t wander. It meanders. It’s taking a slow walk through a disgusting park and not in any hurry to get anywhere. Characters are introduced and thrown away. Scenes are played out that don’t only lack a connection to the plot but are utterly pointless. Not just pointless in the context of the film, but just in general. And of course, there are occasional and unintentionally hilarious moments. For example, during a tense standoff, the hero says, “You don’t work for the ASPCA.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals? At no point has any animal been shown in this whole movie. So, apropos to nothing, he’s very intently saying this at another character. I had to rewind it several times to make sure I heard him correctly. But there it was.
“Scenes are played out that don’t only lack a connection to the plot but are utterly pointless…”
All action in The Dirty Kind seems motivated only by Mr. Trub’s desire to show how edgy he is. Edgy seems to be the paramount buzz word here to the determent of the story and common sense. There is a trope in this kind of film where a couple of toughs catch the P.I. and rough him up to scare him off the case. I suppose Mr. Trub should be applauded for wanting to avoid this cliché. However, instead of beating up the hero, one of them holds him down and ejaculates on the guy. Again, Mr. Trub should be applauded for not showing the actual exchange of bodily fluid, but (like most of the film) this charming slice of cinema doesn’t make any sense.
In this age of ironic and meta-entertainment, you might find yourself tempted to believe that this is some kind of performance art. Some kind of Andy Kaufmanesque joke played by a wily comic genius. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the case. I think it’s just a bad film and can only hope Mr. Trub takes the opportunity to improve and hone his craft.
The Dirty Kind (2018) Directed by Vilan Trub. Written by Vilan Trub. Starring Duke Williams, John Mertens, Ed Glynn, Miranda Plant
1 out of 10