Film: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Most recent project: Hellman last directed the contemporary noir, Road to Nowhere, which screened in competition at the 67th Venice International Film Festival in 2010.
Monte Hellman's Two Lane Blacktop chronicles the story of two nameless men, The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) and The Driver (James Taylor), as they drag race across the country. Along the way they pick up The Girl (Laurie Bird) and a racing nemesis whose ego resides completely in his Pontiac G.T.O. (Warren Oates). Gorgeously shot and comfortable in silence, the sparse dialogue serves only to move the action forward, while the atmosphere of tension and suspense remains a constant presence.
Hellman directed several other films by the end of the '70s and returned to directing a number of shorts starting in 2006 after a 17-year layoff. He came back again with an indie feature back in 2010. Two-Lane Blacktop still retains its spot as the diamond in his filmography.