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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average57.14%
Pretty Crappy: 28.57%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 8 user ratings


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Film with Me in It, A
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by Jay Seaver

"Pierce wouldn't actually kill for a part, but it sure looks that way."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2009 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: I (and most critics, I imagine) am happy to shred a movie that relies too heavily on coincidence and seemingly random events. After all, at some point, the characters should succeed based on their own actions rather than arbitrary decisions by the writer. Sometimes, though, it can be fun for a film to embrace the unlikely and run with it the way "A Film With Me In It" does.

The Me of the title is Pierce (Dylan Moran), an actor whose resume is mostly bit parts. He lives in a ramshackle Dublin flat with his girlfriend Sally (Amy Huberman) and disabled brother David (David O'Doherty); he spends most of his time hanging out with his neighbor Mark (Mark Doherty), a writer who drinks and gambles too much. Then one day, after Sally has moved out, there's an accident - and before Pierce can report it, there's another. Now, you can call the police with one dead body, and they'll nose around a bit but ultimately probably believe the truth. A second, unrelated corpse? That's suspicious.

A Film With Me In It builds from that first bizarre coincidence; once it has acknowledged that Pierce is in trouble because no reasonable person would believe his story, it's free to make things worse in increasingly unlikely fashion. That's not to say the movie is entirely Pierce and his eventual accomplice being tormented by some sadistic deity; they spend some time digging their own graves and working at extricating themselves. The events aren't directly meant to stymie them, either; it's just the worst "one of those days" ever.

At times, Moran seems to give too laid-back a performance as Pierce. I don't think there would be anything to be gained by having him yelling and screaming, and he probably behaves just as someone in shock might after the first death. The trouble with that is that Pierce is fairly stone-faced before that, too. The funny thing is that in both cases, it's a relatively amusing persona - his deadpan delivery is a frequent highlight of the film's second half - but it seems like there should have been some sort of more noticeable shift in his behavior. What we see is perhaps too subtle.

I'll refrain from saying who Moran's co-lead is. It's a pretty funny performance, more obviously reactive than Moran's, and it's quite amusing to see someone go from being shocked and sickened to kind of blossoming in the face of nastiness. After all, this is a movie about people getting killed suddenly; it would stink to have those surprises ruined which person gets a big write-up. The other performances are good, though, whether they're getting knocked off almost as soon as they appear or hanging around to the end.

Writer Mark Doherty and director Ian Fitzgibbon do a nice job of setting the grimy mood and then piling on; I was somewhat reminded of The Ladykillers at times. They do falter somewhat in the last act. We've spent the bulk of the movie in the apartment, so leaving it for the resolution felt odd. The resolution also proved somewhat confusing, at least for the group I was in (granted, we did see a midnight show at the end of a long day): One member wasn't quite sure what had happened; I wasn't particularly clear on the why. It seems like a really dumb plan, designed to maximize irony for the audience but not particularly great for those involved.

Still, even if the end doesn't quite work, it's more a quiet implosion than a flame-out. It is pretty funny, in the same low-key was as the rest of the movie - implosion kind of works for it.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17902&reviewer=371
originally posted: 03/24/09 20:17:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 13th Annual European Union Film Festival For more in the 13th Annual European Union Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

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Directed by
  Ian Fitzgibbon

Written by
  Mark Doherty

Cast
  Dylan Moran
  Neil Jordan
  Keith Allen
  Amy Huberman
  Mark Doherty
  David Doherty
  Laura Way



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