A desperate son reconnects with his estranged father to ask an unspeakable favour that will change their lives forever.
Possibly the most important thing to point out about this film at the outset is that it is not for everyone. Director Andrew Laurich, collaborating on a story with Gabriel Miller, goes down the rabbit hole on the concept of what a person would do for a big cash pay-out. The answer that this film arrives at is somewhat, shall we say, questionable. The outlandish concept at the centre of this film, however, is supported by the authentic character drama that Laurich writes into the estranged father and son who start on an unexpected journey towards reconciliation, albeit down a very odd road.
One of the most striking things about this film is its simplicity. The entire film is one scene in one location with two men talking at a table. While this may not seem particularly dynamic on paper, in practice Laurich and DoP Scott Uhlfelder construct images far more compelling and precise than you might expect. Between framing, lighting, depth of field and colour correction, this is a beautiful film to just watch.
The well-crafted imagery is elevated by the performances of the film’s two characters, Seth (played by Stephen Ellis) and his father (played by John Ennis). Ellis nails the desperation that pushes Seth to reluctantly make the titular request of his father and Ennis hits all of the beats of a man that is only a few steps removed from someone impossible to like but on the hard road to redemption.
One of the best accomplishments of the film is really selling the idea that the two characters have history. Some well-selected exposition lays the groundwork, but ultimately the job is done in the performances, taking us from their awkward initial reunification down the road of genuinely trying to heal a broken relationship. It is to the film’s credit that it is able to pivot between earnest human drama and insane shock comedy. Again, the performances are key, particularly that of John Ennis, who brilliantly integrates the more outlandish character elements of the film into his portrayal.
Ultimately it is the character journey that keeps the film honest along with the comedic chops of its actors that manages to side-step the potential of the film being crass or in bad taste. Instead Laurich, Ellis, Ennis and the rest of the team pull off the seemingly impossible in not backing away from its provocative premise and successfully keeping the film grounded. To quote the movie itself “THAT is how it’s done”.
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Studio: Andrew Laurich | Year: 2015 | Genre: Comedy | Duration: 8 Mins | Suitability: Mature