Oh, HELL yes!
Fans of the Calgary International Film Festival who immediately look up the Late Shows lineup for gleefully grotesque, outrageous cinema — look no further. Why Don’t You Just Die! is a home run!
The Late Shows timeslot is not a place for thoughtful introspection, or a slow buildup. These shows need to hit us hard and fast, and keep us awake. No problem here!
A seemingly timid young man goes to meet his girlfriend’s father, with the aim of killing the old man with a hammer. The father, a corrupt Russian cop, is way tougher than this kid can handle, and the plan goes cartoonishly awry almost immediately. But hey, the kid’s more resilient that you’d think …
Like an old Spy vs. Spy comic, we’re given two mysterious characters who try to destroy one another in ridiculous ways, while we guffaw at the silly reversals of fortune, or at the spectacular violence, which manages to be exhilarating rather than upsetting.
It’s a difficult tightrope to walk, but filmmakers like Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson and Takashi Miike have pulled it off in the past, and now we can add Russian director Kirill Sokolov to that proud list. Everything works; the frantic music, the sound effects ( … is that a pinball machine?!), the flimsy breakaway furniture (and walls!), and the quick little flashbacks that provide important tidbits of information the moment we need it. We start off knowing virtually nothing about these characters (probably a good thing, considering the punishment they go through), and learn just enough as we go along to keep things on track.
Like a Looney Tunes cartoon full of bloodshed, this flick is fast, frantic, gloriously cinematic, and hilarious. Don’t miss it!
Why Don’t You Just Die! screens at the Globe Cinema, Saturday, Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. For tickets please go to calgaryfilm.com.
John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook, Twitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.