Monday, January 14, 2013

Funny Low Budget Gangsters.

D. Olivier Chateau
Synapse Films

This very strange, not quite black and white Gangster film from France tries very hard to be something different. Unfortunately the uneven tone that results kind of sinks the endeavor.

Julien Courbey plays Jack, a low level street thug who really lacks the common sense of a second grader. We meet him pulling a Russian Roulette grift. What he doesn't get is that he is pulling this fast one on some gangsters and they are non too happy about it. He ends up working for the mobsters as an entry level courier. But he screws that up too when he is trying to teach his new wet behind the ears partner to shoot and he blows his brains out. So Jack is sent out to a lonesome field and chained to a tree to die. The meat of the movie is Jack chained to the tree and the various silly things that happen to him. The last ten minutes try to bring a little bit of seriousness to the proceedings.

ASYLUM's (not sure why it is called that, especially when there are a half dozen other films with that name) biggest problem is that the director never sets a mood or tone. So instead the movie feels like disconnected skits with no through line of character or theme. It also can't make up it's mind if it is a comedy or gritty gangster picture and ends up neither.

The movie is clearly shot on video and post effected to have a drained sepia tone. Some occasional color bleeds through but it generally tries to look like some movie from the 20's. There are a making of and another comedic short film called HOMER also included on the disc. The presentation here is remarkably good. Especially considering the film cost $4000 to make.

I hate to give bad reviews but I felt like this one missed the mark. 

Review © Andrew Copp

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