The Death of Dick Long (2019)

Rates: * * * 1/2

Why Did I Watch It? Recommended by fatiekitz

Cast, crew, etc.

Zeke and Earl, a couple of slacker good ole boys in small town Arkansas, grapple with the aftermath of a very big night; hungover, sleep deprived, and covered in blood. Something terrible has happened to their friend Dick, AKA: Richard Long, and they now have to haphazardly scramble to cover it up. And without a functioning brain cell between them.

Like a more chaotic version of ‘Fargo’ set in Trump territory, director Richard Scheinert’s jet black comedy tries to juggle several different tones at once. And does it pretty well. The opening half of the movie, in particular, is strong: the big night that triggers events is deftly sketched over the opening credits, giving you the flavour of this place while not giving too much away, and the humour is droll, deadpan, and frequently hilarious. You can feel the tension, and the comedy, building as the boy’s lies get more ridiculous.

The two lead actors, Michael Abbott jr and Andre Hyland, give good performances and have excellent chemistry. Abbott jr in particular, as Zeke, has some great moments, as he tries, and fails, to think on his feet. My favourite bit is when a policeman says, ‘Is Ezekial home?’ and he says, ‘No’, and then a split second later says, ‘I mean, hi!’

There are a lot of great bits.

But, in the second half, the film has a big twist. The reveal of what, exactly, went down on the night in question is…. wild. And deliberately shocking. And while I admire the audacity of this move, and a think I get what it is trying to say, these guys are actually just terrible people not likable idiots, it kinda derailed it, a bit anyway, for me. If your main two characters are terrible people, this leaves you with no one to root for, and so makes the movie feel somewhat empty.

There were other ways to get here I think, that could’ve preserved the characters better, and still conveyed the same message.

Still: pretty bold and funny. A lot of strengths. The final scene, featuring the best ever use of a crap hit song, kinda rules.

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