Tuesday, October 1

The Death of Dick Long Review

The Death of Dick Long
Dir: Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Jess Weixler, and Sarah Baker

What’s the strangest, most ridiculous, completely bonkers situation that you have ever heard about or experienced? Were you told, “that would make a good movie”, after sharing these stories with others? Cinema has a way of taking the most outlandish stories, sometimes just an idea, and craft them into movies; think about “Howard the Duck”, “Eraserhead”, “Sharknado” as some of the outrageous films that have found their way into popularity and cult followings.

 “Swiss Army Man”, directed by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, is one of the newest entries into the wildly extreme, genre-bending catalog sometimes known as “WTF” films. “Swiss Army Man” is a surreal story about a homeless man, played by Paul Dano, stranded on an island who befriends a dead body, played by Daniel Radcliffe, with terrible flatulence in an attempt to get home. It’s an utterly strange concept that is surprisingly wholehearted even as it balances awkwardly between profound insights and profane gratuitous content. 

“The Death of Dick Long”, directed solely by Scheinert, is attempting to emulate in small ways the tone of “Swiss Army Man”. However, this film places greater emphasis on its darkly comic storyline and a provocative finale, a narrative twist that will remain unspoiled in this review though it should be noted that the result may not be for every film fan. The outcome of this challenging story is an uneven blend of ideas that feels like it was aiming for shock value, indulgence in an odd mystery of events, and a strange journey that complements more than a few laughs along the way. 

 A group of bandmates who enjoy partying and getting into weird situations have a terrible accident happen. Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) don’t want anyone to know the mysterious circumstances that lead to the death of their friend Dick. But keeping secrets are not these two friends’ strongest assets and news travels fast in the small Alabama town that they live in. Before they can figure out what they are going to do about the death of Dick, everything begins to fall apart. 

Director Daniel Scheinert is an interesting director, the content that he is trying to connect in both of the feature films he has made are perplexing and bizarre and many times extreme in aspects of drama and comedy, that’s a complicated combination of themes to fine-tune within a narrative. While the setup for “The Death of Dick Long” is quite entertaining and humorous, much of the cohesion of narrative themes and establishment of tone disappears as the film moves from idea to idea throughout the remainder of the film. The humor is present throughout the film, with a mixture of punchlines that have hit or miss results and performances from the lead cast that is actually very good. Still, the film still struggles to flesh out the characters in more meaningful ways and find the proper balance of the shenanigans that eventually lead to the final reveal which is trying to be more than just simple shocking material. 

“The Death of Dick Long” has moments that are quite interesting, offering humor and drama that is trying to lead to insightful and thought-provoking moments. Unfortunately, the strange and uneven pacing of the film and lack of depth with the characters ultimately hurts the extreme reveal it is setting itself up for.

Monte’s Rating
2.25 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment