Fuck. I do try to avoid expletives in this blog, but man, this film has hit me pretty hard. It’s probably the most depressing film this side of Requiem for a Dream, and I’m still trying to figure out whether that is a recommendation or a warning. This is film noir at its bleakest, its most depressing, and its most suicidal.
I’ve had to put on Tom Waits to even get in the mood for this blog. It’s the only thing in my music library even approaching the desolation of this film, and it’s really not cutting it. There’s certain tracks featured in the film itself that are perfect, and tomorrow I’m going to track down the OST if I can, because it’s damn good. I know it’s an odd way to start one of these quasi-reviews, but it’s important to set the mood, just as it is in the film.
Even the way it’s shot is startling. All the colour is drained from the shots, and I recall one scene early on when the protagonist Joe One-way (Gil Bellows) is in some dive bar and a man is playing the piano. Shafts of light spatter over the pianist as tendrils of smoke coil around him. It’s cliche, but the film is so saturated with film noir cliche that you don’t even notice. While listening to the equally bleak narration, I was constantly reminded of Max Payne, the excellent game about a cop who’s family is killed by drug addicts, causing him to go on a self destructive path in an attempt at redemption. Joe’s family is destroyed by a drug addict, just in this case, the drug addict was him.
The film is about a broken man. Joe is broken before we meet him, and he’s entirely broken the whole way through the film. Everything he cares about he has sabotaged, and anything he used to care about means nothing to him now. We meet him as he is released from jail, following some movie executive reading a play he wrote about his time in prison while incarcerated picking it up to make a feature out of. There’s a moment halfway through where he’s railing against having to rewrite scenes, claiming he has to relive each of them in his mind, and he says ‘I’m tired of feeling sorrowful, because I’m tired of saying sorry.’ You get the impression that he would welcome suicide, something that he seems to constantly contemplate.
Of course, with a tittle like ‘Kill Kill Faster Faster’ (instantly conjuring up the excellent ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, of which this film shares little), there has to be some heartache, and that comes in the form of Fleur (Lisa Ray). She’s married to Mark (Esai Morales), the executive, and within the first half hour Joe is having an affair with her. It’s all so sickeningly cyclical that the final few scenes become apparent early on. Instead of ruining the film they only make the feeling of utter pity and depression all that more tangible.
The film is very visceral, with a multitude of very pornographic and violent scenes. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’m not even sure I would recommend it. It’s very, very good, but only in so much that it makes you feel like crap. I guess that’s a good thing every once in a while.