The noir-forward plot of A Film with Me in It is as feverishly mechanical as they come, but the smarmily organic execution pivots upon unpredictable flourishes of postmodern reflexivity and quiet nods to the perplexing traditions of Irish storytelling. A wannabe TV actor, Mark (Mark Doherty, who also penned the deceptively straightforward script), lives a penurious quasi-existence beneath the barnacle-y needs of equally destitute friends and family until an abrupt series of freak domestic accidents begin claiming their lives with Jacobean illustriousness; in the most dumbfounding examples, Mark’s invalid brother (David O’Doherty) is crushed by a hotly luminous chandelier while his harrying but patient girlfriend, Sally (Amy Huberman), is ceremoniously impaled on a clarinet stand. After the smatterings of violent happenstance, which occur with increasingly improbable but anticlimactic ferocity (we start wondering at the halfway mark just how many cadavers the Wild Wild West-esque man-eating house can reasonably claim, but it’s a mathematical consideration rather than a dramatic one), the film devolves into a Dutch angle-laden extended dialectic between Mark and his shamelessly, if conventionally, egocentric roommate Pierce (Dylan Moran) regarding the proper disposal of their apartment’s ubiquitous “forensics” and the likelihood that Mark’s innocence in the death orgy will be believed. The movie’s putative dark humor never quite transcends the less-than-uproarious drollness of the dialogue’s sarcasm (the bloodletting and the subdued matter-of-fact-isms intensify concurrently, uneasily tethering the film’s comedy to its protagonist’s inability to react with any semblance of shock), but as with the most maddening exemplars of Irish literature, the plot’s hallucinogenic intransigence is its own bitter joke, and the jabbingly low-rent halogen effulgence of the earth-toney cinematographic palette (provided by Seamus Deasy) successfully refracts the film’s already off-kilter reality. A Film with Me in It ultimately succumbs to the supercilious messiness of every other struggling non-artist’s masturbatory revenge fantasy, but its circuitous structure is a welcome homage to the brain-teasing button-holing of yarns like Tristam Shandy.
- 89 min
- Ian Fitzgibbon
- Mark Doherty
- Dylan Moran, Mark Doherty, Keith Allen, Amy Huberman, Aisling O'Sullivan, David O'Doherty
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