Spoilers should get ready to rumble.
I’m calling it now. This is the top contender for audience favourite, and it’s going to be hard to beat. I’m pretty sure everyone has their favourites but if you want to talk an all-out-war the odds are you’ve never seen a brawl captured on screen like this. The audience was roaring with laughter and the applause was deafening. There will be blood, there will be pain, and nobody gets away unharmed. Grab the hammer, ready the shotgun, sharpen your knife and let’s break it down.
Why Don’t You Just Die is the creation of Russian director and writer Kirill Sokolov. Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) shows up with ill intentions and a hammer at the apartment of Andrei (Vitaliy Khaev), a rugged veteran cop and father of his girlfriend Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde). It’s a very unabashed violently and gory film. If this is a restriction for you, you should avoid the Fantasia festival altogether. It’s also hilarious in the same vein that classic slapstick comedy but amped to the max. You can hear every bone crunch, every skull crack and blood gushes over everything.
The movie has that Guy Ritchie action film feel where the camera leans, zooms and turns with whooshing sound effects. There’s influences of Tarantino with time jumps to explore the characters after you’re properly invested in the main storyline, as well as in the dialog and humour. My favourite thing was the long takes of staring contests as the characters are about to draw weapons, with obvious touches of Sergio Leone including Western-style showdown music reminiscent of Ennio Morricone. The cinematography is bursting with so much colour that you could compare it to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie (2001). This palette of comparisons is just appreciation for a well crafted movie, the film makers have made all these elements work and blend together seamlessly.
Extremely recommended, specially with an audience of like-minded people who appreciate gore, violence and pitch black humour. A Fantasia audience was the best for this one. With callbacks to classic spaghetti Westerns, witty dialog and so much blood, this one is not for the squeamish. Any mainstream Hollywood studio would have watered down the violence and the gore, so it’s a testament to Russian independent cinema that they added more in. This is my top contender for the audience favourite of the festival so far.
That will do for now.