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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Movie Review #156 The Living Wake (2007/2010)

Release: 2007/2010
Director: Sol Tryon
Writer(s): Peter Kline, Mike O'Connell
Cast: Mike O'Connell, Jesse Eisenberg, Jim Gaffigan

Rotten Tomatoes: 50% Critics Fresh, 71% Audience Fresh
IMDb: 5.8/10
Netflix: 3.1 Stars

I honestly do not know where to start on this review. As this is the strangest movie I have seen in a long time. As it is about a man celebrating his last day of life. All the while being the most obnoxious person he can be but it is just who he is. He is egotistical, self serving and cocky man. Who believes that he is the best and most important thing in his town and in the world.

It is this attitude that makes H. Roth Binew (Mike O'Connell) possibly the most repulsive man in film making history. As bad as all this sounds he is so very entertaining as not a loser but a man who must lose everything. In order to find out who he is. Just getting to that point is filled with calamity, despair and oh yes comedy. Now the comedy is  dark, insulting, and disturbing. As H. Roth Binew stresses on completing his list of things do on his last day of life.

It is also this list that makes you either fall in love with him or completely hate him. I fall somewhere in the middle of this. I loved parts of this movie and completely hated other parts. All the while I despised H. Roth Binew as I found him to much of a ego driven asshole. That needed a slap down and believe me he gets it. Unfortunately his friend, biographer and confidant Mills (Jesse Eisenberg) is absolutely lovable and cute. In his role as the village idiots best friend.

The tandem of K. Roth Binew and Mills is very polarizing as they are complete opposites. Which makes this movie more engaging. As each scene of K. Roth acts more like and Ass and Mills keeps trying to convince him that life is not all bad. Sadly though for all he does K. Roth is far from wanting to be jovial instead he wishes for his life to be different. To be not forgotten and always remembered.

Hence why is trying to set up a party for his life and having a Living Wake. So that he can toot his horn one more time and make people love him. Even though every one who is around him hates or at minimum tolerate him except for Mills. Which leads to a lot of groan inducing moments at his Living Wake. As he makes it all about himself and never about the people who really there.

Except to punish them by belittling them, prodding them or just being who is and that is a total dick. It is also the reason I hate this movie. I can not like H. Roth Binew he is just unlikable. As much as the movie is about him it is also about Mills who I love. So you have the crazed village drunk and the friendly sweet and kind friend who respects everyone. They could not be an odder pair.

It is also what makes this movie wonderful. Especially towards the end. When you see how Mills is more than just a friend. He is what every human needs. That one person who cares as much about you as you should about yourself. It is those fleeting moments at the end of this movie. That this movie shines and touches on many cords. Just making it to the point will be a trial of attrition by many people out there. All because this movie is not main steam. It is dark and insulting.

All of which makes it a movie to just search out and see none the less. If you need a movie about death and an asshole this is you prime choice. If you wish to not deal with death and all that it encompasses then steer clear. As this movie is what it is a Living Wake.

My Rating: 2.75 Stars out of 5

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