Skip to main content

Independent Film Review: Dead in France (2012)

Breaking Glass Pictures
Runtime: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Kris McManus
Writers: Brian A. Levine, Kris McManus

Starring: Brian A. Levine, Celia Muir, Darren Bransford, Lee Chaney, 
Kate Loustau
Comedy | Crime | Thriller

In Dead in France, a romantically and socially inept assassin hires a cleaning lady and entrusts her with his nice retirement home before heading out on his final job. What he doesn’t know is that his cleaning lady has a loser boyfriend who is granted access to the house by her. This boyfriend has two thuggish Brit friends who will get in his way more than once—all this while a rival assassin is hot on his heels.

The assassin, “Charles” (Brian A. Levine) is an eccentric germ freak whose character nuances are enticing to say the least. And while we come to like him for the part, our eyes go off him and onto his succulently attractive help, “Lisa” (Celia Muir) who can be elegant, classy, and funny, as well as sexy with just a smile. Her graceless, doltish, hideously unpleasant (but somehow still charismatic) piece of trash boyfriend, “Denny” (Darren Bransford) is ruining everything around them. The hilarity from he and his friends and influences – though certainly measurable – is one of the many subtle payoffs from watching.

Charles' greatest threat is “Clancy” (Kate Loustau). If she just stepped up to actually play the part of an intimidating killer, she’d do well; as is, she provides more stand-in caricature-ish comedy relief than she does hardened assassin. But no matter since everyone here takes a back seat to the script’s preposterous direction in which the story can’t fully grow.

Filmed in black and white for that retro feel and with plenty of sexual innuendo, Dead in France is as implacable and bombastic as any indie work has dared to be in a good while—this while exhibiting qualities Tarantino himself would greatly admire. Even the preference for sick, brain-spattering humor and bodies dissolving in acid are handled with an unexpected amount of finesse.

But unfortunately, we never get to completely appreciate the story since its ending is a totally deflating experience. It is as if director Kris McManus decided to artfully craft a beautiful project, being careful to secure the best acting from the talent available, and then throw it out like a child tossing away a toy when done playing. Shame since this funny and very well-paced work demonstrates some fine filmmaking skills that could and would have put it in the ballpark of A+ material. As it is, it might still be considered a light recommendation for Noir-ish indie film buffs of all kinds.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.