Bigelow’s directorial career is often recognized for its unique consideration of traditionally masculine subject matters from a more nuanced and deconstructive perspective. While her works aren’t traditionally seen as overtly feminine then in their juxtaposition to masculine subjects, there’s no denying that Bigelow brings some greatly appreciated inquiry into her mainstay genres of action and war films. She has, however, had additional success dabbling in genres of Horror and Science-Fiction as well, proving more than capable of flexing an aesthetically fantastical eye that categorizes her directorial bend.
She began her career in 1981, with the release of her co-directorial debut, The Loveless. Transitioning from painting to the medium of film, Bigelow set out to make a low-budget biker project, which she later identified as having “one foot in the art world and one foot in independent underground films.” Bigelow’s fixation on the lawless and the fringes of society carried over into her next feature, Near Dark in 1987, a vampire-Western hybrid which demonstrated great success for her directorial abilities in both aesthetics and action, but which failed at the box office thanks to the collapse of producer Dino De Laurentiis’ production company. Bigelow would find financial success in her next feature, Blue Steel (1990), which springboarded her into the mainstream of action filmmaking and paved the way for her breakthrough success the following year.
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