Killers (キラーズ, Kirazu): a serial killer who uploads his work to a ‘DeathTube‘ site inspires an everyman to go vigilante. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve seen directors harness everything down to the distributors & funders logos to add to the film’s aesthetic; and with this level of detail from the get go, the film is technically admirable – sound, editing, camerawork etc. The opening 5 minutes really set the mood, with a shocking and ultra-graphic murder: the violence slowly escalates and darkens as the runtime progresses. Unlike The Raid‘s gritty-but-styalised – and even poetic – gore, this film is just plain gritty. One killer is a savvy psychopath fit for Dexter, the other is an everyman pushed over the edge, Falling Down style. Another unique aspect is that it’s a collaborative effort from two directors (The Mo Brothers – not real brothers), filmed in two locations – Japan and Indonesia – with English spoken parts when the two leads interact; it doesn’t hinder the film’s international appeal, although something feels lost in translation story-wise. At 140 minutes it does lose feel rather long-winded and intricate for what is essentially a serial killer movie with a disjointed story and not much in the way of themes or messages. If you like your gore gory, and your films stylish this ticks both boxes – although not a lot else. The main stars of Killers are the directors, who with more focus (shorter runtime and tighter story) could pose a serious threat to Gareth Evans as the king of contemporary Indonesian action.
Trance: when an art heist goes wrong the only auctioneer who knows where a valuable painting is can’t remember what he did with it. Purposely or not, this is a fragmented mess of a film: it’s hard to know exactly what is past, present, hypnosis, and visions – making it frustrating to follow at times. The twist-o-rama finale in particular is both super-smart and hyper-ridiculous. If it’s one thing though, Trance is visually sumptuous; some parts feel like a technical demo reel – full of impressive techniques, colouring, imagery, and most scenes have some form of reflection / symmetry. Yet, no matter how much Boyle tarts this up, it still manages to feel like a TV drama for the most part; lots of talking, small locations, tight cast etc. There’s also a really, really, strange ‘hairy bush’ Vs ‘shaved pubes’ sub-plot. Trance is part cutting-edge super-styalised directorial flare, and part humdrum, but the shattered timeline and ambiguity of what you’re watching make it very hard to tune in to. I imagine this plays better with a 2nd viewing.
Standard night out for us Scottish people…
Misfits (Season 3): 8 Episodes: with a whole new bunch of powers and a line-up change, the gang are re-booted and re-established. It takes around 1/2 the season, but once the new guy – ‘split personality’ Rudy – is properly established his comic timing, screen presence and character far outdo Nathan, which isn’t an easy feat. The rest of the cast keep up with their characters well and the dealer gets a bigger role than before. A critical problem with Season 3 is that the writing is all over the place, I’ve never seen a series with such variation in quality between episodes; some are among the best and most clever to date, yet others are barely watchable or deadly boring, and the rest are average at best. To finger out a couple, the Nazi time travel and gender bending episodes are just boring, boring and boring – however the super STD episode is comedy gold and the zombie cheerleaders is nothing short of pure cult. Slow burning, with individual episodes ranging between 1/10 and 8/10, Misfits Season 3 asks a lot more of its audience than previous outings, and although it’s still daring, dark and outrageous it only gets its shit together in the final couple of episodes. It’s definitely lacking the clever writing that made the first two seasons special – Season 4 will be a tough sell for me.