Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Suicide Theory: Not a DIY Kind of Thing
pitiable Percival is sort of like Larry Talbot. He is convinced he cannot be
killed. However, he can be disfigured and maimed—and he has the scars from past
suicide attempts to prove it. Somehow, he has developed a New Agey notion that
a wildly unstable contract killer is the man who can get the job done, because
of their fateful connections. Maybe it makes sense or maybe it doesn’t, but it
provides the unlikely foundation of a strange pseudo-friendship in Dru Brown’s The Suicide Theory (trailer here), which opens
today in the Los Angeles area.
Ray kills people, when he is not wallowing in grief over his late wife’s
hit-and-run death. He first met Percival when the suicidal artist took a header
off a building onto Ray’s cab. At first, Ray assumes Percival’s self-ordered
hit will be easy money, but alas no. Of course, he dismisses the notion that he
can only whack his client when he is in such a good frame of mind, he
temporarily wants to live again. Yet, in spite of his better judgement, Ray
starts to wonder when Percival survives his multiple gunshot wounds to the
head. As he confers with his unhappy customer, Ray actually starts to like the
lovelorn, guilt-ridden, open-sore of a person. He also starts to question some
of his own life choices.
lucky to be alive” is the film’s designated punch line—and it often works
rather well in context. In fact, Theory is
pretty darned entertaining when it sticks to the pitch black humor and grimy
noir atmosphere. Oddly enough, Brown’s attempts to wrap it all up in a cosmic
package somewhat dilutes the grungy fun. Still, Steve Mouzakis’s stone cold
deadpan delivery gives Ray a flinty edge, even more than his voluminous tics
and quirks. He also develops some decidedly distinctive buddy chemistry with
Leon Cain’s increasingly battered Percival.
To be fair, Brown fits his ironic pieces
together quite dexterously. Nonetheless, the film is more entertaining when reveling
in its brutish urban jungle environment rather than trying to make cosmic
connections. At its best, Theory is
sort of like early Tarantino without the self-conscious pop culture riffing. It
is somewhat uneven down the stretch, but overall, it’s not bad, even if you
have seen a whole lot of indie thrillers. Recommended as a decent little VOD
discovery, The Suicide Theory opens
today (7/10) at the Music Hall 3 in Beverley Hills and also launches on iTunes.
Labels: Australian cinema