To Hellman and back - Page 3

The cult director comes to town with his latest, plus some of his greatest

Two-lane journey to the unknown: a scene from Monte Hellman's noirish latest, Road to Nowhere.

Whether Road to Nowhere qualifies as summary statement or aberration has already divided viewers since its Venice premiere last fall. Written by Iguana's Steven Gaydos, it's a hall of mirrors in which a hotshot filmmaker (Tygh Runyan) making a movie about a woman's apparent real-life murder casts an alluring non-actress (Shannyn Sossamon) whom an insurance investigator (Waylon Payne) and reporter (Dominique Swain) come to suspect might be playing herself — having faked her own death and adopted a new identity.

The mix of noir, reality-illusion puzzle, industry in-jokes, film history name-dropping (as well as archival clips), uneven performances, sometimes stilted dialogue, brief startling violence, and handsome compositions (shot without permits on a hand-held digital camera) can be taken as two hours of delicious gamesmanship or exasperating self-indulgence. But no one can argue that by now Hellman hasn't earned his right to be difficult.


July 22–28, $5–$10.25


3117 16th St., SF

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center

1118 Fourth St., San Rafael

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