Do you believe in fate?
Nothing pleases me more than when I see a film based on a relatively new idea. Hollywood has too many reboots, remakes and sequels these days and you have to filter through to find truly original stories.
For example, I have recent started working at my local cinema (hence the less than frequent reviews recently) and today, whilst I’m waiting for my new full time job to start, I decided to watch some films. I watched The Water Diviner and Still Alice. Whilst both had decent enough plots, and I especially liked The Water Diviner, I wouldn’t call either film unique and neither had truly original stories.
The Water Diviner, for example, is similar in terms of basic plot to Saving Private Ryan. Both revolve around the search for sons, with the majority being killed and them trying desperately to find the final one. Although there is more to them than that, they share a similar premise.
Now, I write this before I watch Suicide Theory, but from what I have seen this is a fairly unique film and plot. I am quite looking forward to this and whilst I don’t doubt that it will probably end up being terrible, it’s a while since I’ve gone into reviewing a film and been excited about what is about to come.
Steven (Mouzakis) is a professional assassin and he receives a phone call one day from a man that wants to die. With his curiousity peaked, Steven meets Percival (Cain), a man who claims that he can’t die. Percival’s body, especially his face, is covered in scars and burns from alleged previous attempts at suicide. Steven refuses to believe that Percival can’t die and gladly takes the job and shoots him three times within seconds of taking the money.
Whilst on his way to his next job, Steven is shocked to see that Percival not only survived the bullets, but has now decided to jump off of a building and onto his cab. Steven is even more surprised when he sees Percival walking about normally the next day. Even further intrigued, Steven starts becoming more and more frustrated as Percival survives every single attempted assassination. Percival simply won’t die.
The two soon develop a bond as they combat their demons. When Percival is visually beaten by a homophobic bartender and his friends, Steven enacts revenge on his behalf by torturing and killing the attackers. As the two develop a friendship, will an unexpected development re-encourage Steven to fulfill the contract?
So was it original?
Yes, actually. As far as I am aware there are no other films that I have seen that are like this. I was sat watching the film for it’s 96 minute run time and I couldn’t think of anything like it. It is truly unique.
In what other film would you see an assassin that is afraid to cross the road , or more importantly, being fully intent on fulfilling his contract, all whilst developing a personal relationship with the target? The two end up going to play arcade games together, etc. I’ll go more into the relationship later but first I want to talk about my least favourite part of the film and something that always bugs me.
Now, whilst that shit might fly in the film’s native Australia, I like my films to be factually correct (obviously I’ll give it a bit of artistic licence in science fiction films, but otherwise no film gets a pass with that), so much to the point where stupid errors aren’t made because of the writers and directors not caring enough to research what they are writing.
In the first scene that he is in, Percival mentions that he tried killing himself by jumping off of the Humber Bridge in London. Now, my only issue with that is that the Humber Bridge isn’t in London, or even close. In terms of the layout of England, it’s nowhere near London. The reason I know this is because I live in Lincoln, which is around 40 miles south of the Humber Bridge….and London is a further 120 or so miles south.
I know some will look at this error as being a simple character error and leave it at that, but it’s just not an excusable mistake and there is no way that the character could make that mistake. If you’re on the Humber Bridge you’ll know you’re not in London, and if you’re in London, you’ll have a hard time finding the Humber Bridge.
But other than that complete fuck up, I genuinely enjoyed Suicide Theory. It is a brilliantly written film that isn’t driven my special effects, cliches or your typical Hollywoodisms. It’s driven by characters. Too many films these days forget the most important element of the film and that is the characters. If you don’t have good characters then why should I care about the story?
The character of Steven is introduced in the best possible fashion. The scene that he is introduced in perfect because although it’s short, it tells you everything that you need to know about the character. He is a man who can build great personal relationships, but is also a man of principles and will teach a lesson to those who are rude, obnoxious and any other similarly negative character trait.
Steven tries desperately to help Percival realise his dream of dying and does what he can to try and help, but it develops into more than a simple job. It turns almost into a friend helping out another. The two develop a genuine friendship and as the story progresses, Steven becomes a really engaging character and his growth throughout the runtime is very well done.
Percival isn’t quite as engaging as Steven, but is still highly entertaining and multi-dimensional. His desperation at losing his partner and to end his despair really bring you into his life and story. Because of Cain’s portrayal, you truly end up feeling for the character and that’s what you want when you’re watching someone in a film. You want to feel everything that they are feeling.
The story links the two together so well and the twist at the end is worth the wait. It’s a twist that you don’t see coming and leaves you wanting more….and you get that with yet another twist at the very end. The dynamic completely changes and the music helps tremendously when they next see each other. The soundtrack throughout is fantastic, but during the twists at the end, the soundtrack augments it so well.
And finally, onto the bit that I love that most about the film, both of the main characters reach a natural ending to the story. Neither of the endings for the characters feel forced or completely irrelevant to the rest of the story. Both work.
If you can ignore the basic error in geography then this film is definitely worth your time. I don’t often give my stamp of approval but I have to give it here. Infact, I approve it to such a level that I’m now introducing a literal stamp of approval. I don’t really do a ranking system in terms of scores, grades, or anything else, but on the rare occasions that I deem it necessary, I will give a film the official seal of approval.
Suicide Theory works so well because it’s such a simple premise and it doesn’t deviate from that. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is and because of that it can focus of story and character development.
Whilst there are minor flaws here and there, they are countered many times over by the positives.