Tag: Mystery

The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

The Snowman

Without a doubt, snowmen have always been scary. We had that Jack Frost horror movie, and that other Jack Frost horror movie, all about snowmen!

My first real interactions with snowmen and music however, have also been terrifying. After all, in Cannibal! The Musical we were given the hellish tune of Let’s Build a Snowman, multiple decades before Frozen came onto the scene with their snowman song.

Apparently this one was based on a book, but I am sure The Snowman was supposed to be scary as well.

Is this an alien snowman? Is this movie actually supernatural?

Norway. Winter. It’s cold everywhere, it snows all the time. Basically, everyone is a snowman if you think about it.

And Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is a detective for the main Norway police people, and yes, that is his name. He is good at his job, but he also is a bit of a drunk and going through a life slump. A new recruit to their agency is Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), who has a lot of spunk and drive. She thinks a series of disapperances are similar to a few done years ago in a different Norway town, so she is ready to investigate!

Aw, so young and naive. And maybe oh so right.

A few murders, a few snowmen based deaths, and sure yeah, I am sure someone is behind it and just fucking with them all. And to think it is happening as they are trying to finish a bid for some non Olympic winter games event too.

Also starring Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, David Dencik, Jonas Karlsson, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, and J.K. Simmons.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen the :/ used in any real context.

In The Snowman, there is a good mystery plot in there, somewhere. A lot of it may have been on the cutting room floor, or it may have never gotten shot. According to the director, he talked about why the movie was terrible, before it was even released in America. It was released a week early in Europe and met with so many bad reviews he just had to admit the whole thing I guess.

It quickly went from a “I can’t wait to see this film!” moment to “Oh man, how much of a train wreck will this be? Can’t wait!” feeling. And trainwreck it was.

Which is a shame, because Fassbender isn’t acting bad in the film or anything, it is just the plot is so shitty. There are motivations behind the characters, but the herring is so red it should almost be a scarlet herring. Or bloody herring. So much side plot is technically relevant, but so badly explained it just feels slightly shoe horned. And when we get our big dramatic reveal (which isn’t too hard to guess), it is explained so poorly it just feels. Well, badly written.

Which is a shame, because the novel by Jo Nesbø I am sure is really swell. He has written a lot of books, so he must have some talent. But now my introduction to his work just smells of…wait. Herring. Yeah, it smells like old yucky herring.

The Snowman is poorly put together work of film, despite some cool elements. Probably just avoid this one forever and read the book instead.

1 out of 4.


Hooray the Coen brothers! Their last picture was Hail, Cesar! Which I have a 4 out of 4 to, but in retrospect it was a weak 4. It was just so bizarre and atypical for films that I couldn’t hate it.

So I had pretty high hopes with Suburbicon. It is set in the past, it has quirky characters and a murder plot so fowl. It is probably going to be similar to Fargo just with worse accents.

I really wanted to see it but I was surprised at the lack of, well, anything about the movie. Advertising was basically nonexistent for this film, like it was meant to be buried before it even premiered. And damn it, George Clooney is the director, his name used to mean something.

Falling Down
Maybe some elements will also bring us back to Falling Down.

Welcome to Suburbicon! A community set in the 1960’s or early 70’s. Life is perfect here. There are jobs, there are families with husbands and wives, there are kids who play baseball in the lots. There are no big fences between their houses, there is no crime, and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

And then a new family moves in, the Mayers (Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa). They are black. This sort of thing really shakes up their community, as apparently most of the families left their homes to move here just because of how white it is. They think this family will ruin their community and will go out of there way to make their stay miserable until they decide to leave.

But that is only one small part of the movie. The other part deals with the Lodge family. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is running his own business, living with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), who is in a wheelchair, and son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Sometimes her twin, Margaret (Moore), also stays with them. After Nicky ends up playing baseball with the new neighbor’s son, the Lodge family are woken up by two goons (Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell) who are threatening and mean.

This leads to a death in the family, which is only the first of a series of weird things to occur after their new neighbors arrive. It turns out that this area might not have been as happy as everyone had imagined.

Also featuring Oscar Isaac as an insurance man.

I’d let him give me an insurance adjustment anytime.

There is something odd about Suburbicon, in its core, that makes it really hard to get into for a really long time. With wonderful dark comedy writers at the helm, you would think it would be a surefire hit, or at lease a cult classic. But this will not be either of these things and it will be promptly forgotten in the annals of cinema.

Is it like Fargo? Yeah, a bit, but Fargo had charming characters that you could invest in on both sides. This movie basically has a little kid and a neighbor family that is a distracting subplot.

And maybe that is a bigger problem with the film. As the intro goes, it is clear that the ideal utopia place to live is super white. It is clear that there will probably be a black family to move into the neighborhood and force some issues. And these things do happen, but only to provide a rather large and awkward distraction of the main plot.

I’m an America as racially divided and tense as it is right now, how could they decide to treat a real issue facing people now as some sort of fluff piece? It shows real anger and scary situations, but every time it heads back to the main family with their insane plot it reminds the viewer that “no, they are not important. This white family is really the important one.”

The reason for all the chaos makes sense. By having it in the background, we are able to give a reason why all of the film’s plot can take place without too much notice. But even if it makes sense, it is still an incredibly insensitive and poor choice for the creators to make.

The acting is fine. Some of the twists are fine. Oscar Isaac was great in his two scenes. Top notch. It slightly saved it from a 0.

1 out of 4.

Atomic Blonde

Atomic! Blonde! Atomic Blonde! Two words that are powerful, in very different ways, and together make something…about the sum of their parts.

It is a new action mostly film, with promises of sleek designs and fights, with a banging sound and wall to wall fun. It is also being noted as female John Wick, or something like that.

I figured Atomic Blonde would be some cool agent nick name, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the film, so really the title is just…mostly random. Strange, but it wouldn’t be the first time it is done. Sort of a call back to 80’s action films in that regard.

What a big goddamn symbol of separation. And a wall, there is a wall also in this shot.

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was a literal and figurative collapse of the separation between East and West Germany, reuniting the country for the first time in decades. But in this world, it almost never happened.

An MI-6 British operative gained access to a file in a watch that had information on every hidden operative on both sides of the Cold War. It would be devastating for anyone to get their hands on it, as they would gain a big advantage over the others. It getting out might also prolong the Cold War, when it is so close to finishing for once.

And then that operative was killed before he could bring it home, putting it in the hands of a Soviet soldier, who didn’t run back to his country, but is trying to get paid the big bucks for the information. So the UK sends in a new agent, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), to find the file before it gets in the wrong hands. They also want her to find information on a double agent, who is secretly leaking information to the Soviets. And all of this quickly, before the Cold War heats up.

She is sent with information to trust no one, not even their pseudo informant, David Percival (James McAvoy), a man who has been working both sides of the wall to gain intel to gain power and prestige. But he is also her only hope to really starting to crack the case. They also need to find Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), a code name for an East German intelligence officer who helped make the list and is the only one really with that information.

The majority of the story is told after the events, with Lorraine retelling it back at headquarters, to a head British dude (Toby Jones) and a member of the CIA (John Goodman).

Other bodies in this film include James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson.

Man, having a big head of hair and covering your face really helps input a stunt double.

Coming from a person who didn’t find John Wick or its sequel to be perfect films (although wonderful cinematography, and wonderful action), this did not feel up to the same quality that John Wick gave us. But I am not going to compare it to John Wick, that wouldn’t be fair.

Theron was fine as our lead. A very distant protagonist, she had a lot of secrets in her head, and they showed her definitely to be a bad ass. There was an incredible scene that maybe went on 10 minutes as a long take with several fights and sequences that just felt like it would never end. It was wonderful.

But it lacked a whole lot more in the story department. It should have tried a simpler plot, instead this movie gets tangled up in its own threads, and doesn’t give a completely sensible final product. Twists and turns are one thing, but if they end up at the finale and feel forced and a bit of a let down, then the movie just ends with a pitter.

The average review isn’t just for the ending, but mostly for how the story just failed to get me involved in anyway. There were secrets, but ones I rarely cared about. I didn’t try to look for hints, because I knew they would be mostly red herrings.

But the soundtrack was definitely banging. And again, some of the fight scenes were just extremely well choreographed, so if that is all you care about, you will have a good time. I just think who cares? Big deal, I want more.

2 out of 4.

Wind River

For awhile, I was up in Northern Minnesota. This is real life, true story. How north, you ask? Well, apparently a 45 minute drive would have taken me to Canada.

I bring this up for two reasons: One, it made me miss quite a few screenings, because they show movies up there months after everyone else saw them, certainly not before. And two, the movie Wind River is set in the wilderness.

Not almost Canada, but cold enough in the months of “barely Spring” Wyoming, in the mountains.

So basically, I am this story. If you squint really really hard.

Oh hey. Avengers. I see you upgraded weapons.

Set in the titular Wind River, Wyoming, this takes us to a big reservation city where people want to just be left alone, raise their families, and not be fucked over by the white man. Basically like a lot of people in the world.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a cool white guy though, as you can tell with his white name. He is okay, because he works to help the area. He lives alone and is a hunter, and he works for the government sort of, taking out wolves or lions or whatever that are messing with people’s farms. He has an ex wife (Julia Jones) and a son (Teo Briones) that he has visitation for sometimes. Definitely some backstory there. Would be awesome if a new character was brought in so that it could be addressed at some point.

But before that, DEATH. Because while out looking for a momma lion and her cubs, he stumbles upon a dead body. A girl, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) that he knows, barefoot, and miles away from any house. His plans have changed, and now they have to wait for an FBI agent to get there to investigate the possible murder. Which is where we meet Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), girl totally not used to the cold, here to check things out. Despite bad things that have clearly happened to the girl, specifically physical stuff, the death cannot be ruled a murder but natural causes. Weather is a goddamn bitch.

Banner doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate this before she will be called back to a new job, so she enlists Lambert’s help in order to get someone who knows the area and land to maybe make some leads quickly before she has to run off again. Can they figure out the mystery behind her death?

Featuring the awesome Graham Greene as the local cop, and Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s dad. Also all of these people: Apesanahkwat, Eric Lange, Tantoo Cardinal, Althea Sam, Tyler Laracca, Martin Sensmeier, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal, James Jordan, Austin R. Grant, Blake Robbins, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, and Matthew Del Negro.

And Birmingham’s face was played by William Wallace.

After watching, Wind River seems like one of those movies that I really love for basically every aspect, that other movie watchers will find to be boring or dumb. I hate it when that happens. I want those people to open their minds and realize they just witnessed something epic, so I write about it (while begrudgingly say that yeah, everyone can have an opinion), and make sure people get out there.

But honestly I can’t see that happening. I can’t imagine people going to watch this and not being impressed with it. It is just so damn good. There is no way this can have a disconnect between critic and the average movie goer. Anyone should be able to go in, see how much Renner, Olsen and Greene brought it the entire time they weer on the screen. They should be able to see how much Birmingham did with a lot less screen time. They should be appreciative of the cast that was very racially sensitive to the area.

And they should be able to see how well the plot unfolded. When the movie decided to reveal the secrets, they should feel how their stomach turned and their anger increased. The emotions would be on a ride if someone just let them.

Sure, Wind River started off a little bit slow, but once we get dead body, it should captivate the viewer, and you will see definitely one of the best films of 2017.

4 out of 4.


Havenhurst came about on my radar because, like at least 50 reviews on this website, my flashdrive was left at home and I needed something.

But I will admit I liked the name. It could technically be considered a calming or warm sounding place, but at the same time, the opposite of all that. It brings up the idea of a haunted house, thanks to those double H’s. It could really draw up some fears of isolation or claustrophobia.

Then again, the main draws for me for this film were the short run time and the fact that I recognized a lead. I am but a simple sheep, at the end of the day.

Havenhurst harks homeless hotties and heinous harbingers of hazard. .

Jackie (Julie Benz) loooooves her alcohol. In fact, she is an alcoholic. But she is trying to get beyond that, going to those meetings and getting her life back on her feet. Thankfully, there are many opportunities for her.

One of them is Havenhurst, a hotel/apartment esque building that offers homes and rooms for those working on recovery. They can stay there as long as they need, unless they return to their vice, whatever it is. Then old Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan) will evict them, no questions asked, and they are on their own to make mistakes, never again to return.

Well, Jackie had a friend there, Danielle (Danielle Harris), but she went missing. She might have been evicted and gone somewhere else, but she hasn’t seen her in so long she suspects maybe some foul play.

The hotel seems to change over time, some of its hallways, and she hears screams occasionally. Thankfully she has a foster kid sidekick (Belle Shouse) and a cop friend (Josh Stamberg) to occasionally have them listen to her theories.

Also featuring Toby Huss, Douglas Tait, Dendrie Taylor, and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.

“Oh no a bad guy, get him little girl!”

Havenhurst opens with a death of a character. Sometimes horror films take awhile to get scary, Havenhurst said no, death first, then plot, then more death. The death just felt silly though, without context, putting me in a mood ripe for making fun of the film. It doesn’t help that this film attempts to maintain some levels of mystery so that the viewer can sort of play along with our hero, except that right away we know that yeah, there is some murders afoot, so she isn’t crazy.

And a film has an uphill battle if it wants to maintain some suspense while also basically letting the viewer know a whole lot more than the characters. Usually mysteries are from the point of view of the protagonist with a few teasing moments.

I am annoyed at how un-seriously I took this film. Because when it revealed a bit more information (in a pretty silly way), I loved the idea they presented. Again, it was presented in a bad way, in more ways than one, but the connection to American lore was top notch.

Havenhurst has below average plot, acting, thrills, and more. Thankfully it is short and we can all move on from this film.

1 out of 4.

Shimmer Lake

Studies have shown that reviews that feature “Lake” in the title end up being better than expected when writing said review.

Of course, my only review before this was the movie Flakes, which was, I admit, better than I imagined it would be. It was quirky, off beat.

Shimmer Lake, it has plenty of quirky actors in it, but I am not sure how off beat it will end up being. I did go in with low expectations, despite the Lake theory, and as you can see, hey, it was better than I imagined.

There was less sexual tension in this movie than I imagined as well. Look at that gap between police officers!

Shimmer Lake is also a story told in reverse. Similar to Memento, sure, but it is on a day by day basis. We start our story on Friday, and we see how the entirety of Friday plays out, then we see Thursday, all the way to Tuesday.

Because you see, on Tuesday, there was a bank robbery. And this is a small town, Shimmer Lake, so everybody knows everybody, and heck, a lot of them are related. Like or Sheriff Zeke (Benjamin Walker), whose brother, Andy (Rainn Wilson), a lawyer, just helped rob a bank on Tuesday. Andy worked with two other locals (Wyatt Russell, Mark Rendall) robbed a bank when it had a well known surplus, and Zeke was shot in the theft.

And now they are still about the town, Zeke is sure of it.

We just have to figure out how all the players are involved, which of course is revealed slowly while telling us backwards. We also have a judge (John Michael Higgins), a couple of FBI helpers (Rob Corddry, Ron Livingston), the deputy (Adam Pally), and the wife of a robber (Stephanie Sigman), and somehow one or more of them are involved.

And don’t worry, the lake is not the answer to the mystery.

Blueprints and alcohol are the best items to help with a bank robbery.

About three fourths of the way into this movie, I wondered why it was being told in reverse. It didn’t seem to be adding really anything extra to the story. It seemed to be Memento-ing because people liked Memento.

But of course by the end it all became a bit more clear. And yes, Shimmer Lake is a film that will be better the second go around. I don’t know if I will ever really watch it a second time, but I would like to see what clues give it all away and make this story tick.

It was a bit hard to label this movie, because there are a lot of actors who are mostly in comedy films filling out the roster, and I think that adds a strange aesthetic to the whole film. I am calling it a Dark Comedy in that regard, because it is normally comic actors acting serious, in events that are larger than life.

Shimmer Lake isn’t a film that is reinventing the wheel or adding something entirely new to the industry. But it does try to stand out and, as I implied earlier, ends up being a better ride than expected.

3 out of 4.


I believe I told my wife that I wanted to watch Mindhorn on Netflix for a review. Her response was something similar to “What the fuck is Mindhorn?”

And of course I gave her the netflix description of it, and she said “That sounds fucking stupid.” Yes, yes it does. And that is of course why I watched it.

Also the title is powerful. Mindhorn. Mind. Horn. Mindh. Orn.


I am now in your brain, learning your secrets.

Mindhorn is a British television show about Detective Mindhorn, played by actor Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt). He has some telepathic powers, and he solves crime. It is the hottest TV show around. It is on the cover of magazines, everyone talks about it, and it is getting a spin-off led by one of its minor characters played by Peter Eastman (Steve Coogan).

And now? It is 25 years later, Thorncroft is living in poverty, doing commercials, no one caring about Mindhorn anymore. It lasted three seasons and was cancelled and Thorncroft was a dick, so he left all his friends behind to try for something better. And shit, the spinoff lasted over 10 seasons and is what everyone cares about now.

But things will change. Because on the Isle of Man, where the series was filmed, a MURDER has occurred. By a “lunatic” Paul Melly (Russell Tovey), who will only speak to Detective Mindhorn. He thinks that Mindhorn is real and will only deal with the character. So Thorncroft is brought in, to act and help deal with the boy. But Thorncroft needs money and fame, so he will make this last as long as it needs to be to get people saying his name again.

Also starring Richard McCabe, David Schofield, Simon Farnaby, Kenneth Branagh, Jessica Barden, Andrea Riseborough, Essie Davis, and Nicholas Farrell.

If this movie was in 3D, this would be an intense, frightening scene. Because of the shots, not the weed wacker.

Mindhorn takes an interesting premise, makes it British, adds some comedy, and still doesn’t fully deliver an amazing movie.

It had amusing moments, it had interesting characters (a lot of the side characters were brimming with personality), but I feel it was also plagued with pacing issues and not being strong on the humor. It is adequately bizarre (not extremely bizarre), even a bit zany, just not incredibly humorous. That is one of my biggest issues.

As for pacing issues, at times it feels clunky. It is easy for mystery-esque movies to lead you all over the place with only tiny details mattering by the end, but this one isn’t even a real mystery. The police believe they know who the killer is right away, and when things inevitably change, we have a new obvious killer, and the majority of the film is just trying to get the proof. So not really a mystery, despite set up like one.

It makes the film just so hard to define. That isn’t a negative, given some of my favorite movies this year have hard to define genres. But when it comes out like a mystery and is instead just a slightly eccentric comedy, you just find yourself wanting a lot more in the film.

2 out of 4.

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie

When you build a website on a willingness to watch anything, you have to actually watch a lot of random shit. And it gets harder when you get behind, because then most of your reviews end up being the films that everyone is already going to watch or already know about. Not the real hidden gems or hidden turds out there.

And yet somehow, I found a new Netflix original film that wasn’t very advertised and one they are probably just trying to make and hide. A hidden title, still with their Netflix original sticker on it. Not only that, but the title is Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie. It has Netflix in the fucking title? What’s up with that? That’s weird.

This movie has so little information about it that I couldn’t even find out why they went that route. Is it just a double form of advertising? Does it take place INSIDE the Netflix head quarters? I DON’T KNOW.

But I need to know, and now, I am watching a movie not many people have noticed to exist yet. Hooray!

The fireworks are a metaphor.

Gene Handsome (Jeff Garlin) is a detective, getting old, maybe he will retire, maybe not. But he is lonely. He lives alone on his street, with one of his neighbors (Eddie Pepitone) being a PI with a younger accordion playing wife (Leah Remini) and they are eccentric. But he has new neighbors! And on the way over to introduce them and give them cookies, he finds Heather (Hailee Keanna Lautenbach), the baby sitter instead and she doesn’t trust him. That’s fair.

But then the next day, Heather is found dead and cut up on a famous actor’s lawn. Talbert Bacorn (Steven Weber) has no idea who this lady is or why his lawn, but Handsome and his partner, Fleur Scozzari (Natasha Lyonne) are on the case! With almost nothing to base it off of.

Thankfully, he can now meet his new neighbor (Christine Woods) and her daughter (Ava Acres) under a weird set of circumstances. Maybe it can lead to a less lonely life. Oh sorry, that is creepy, given the circumstances.

Also featuring Timm Sharp, William Stanford Davis, and Joe Kenda.

That bathrobe is also a metaphor.

Handsome is a hard movie to categorize. It isn’t laugh out loud funny, it is more just peculiar. My wife described it as quirky. I would also describe it as overexagerrated while also somehow down to earth.

There isn’t necessarily anything in this film that feels unreasonable. All of the plot details are fine. It is just that everyone is a bit odd, a bit out there, I don’t know if there is a single “straight character” in the movie. All of the characters seem to have their own stories and inspirations and this is just us caught up right in the middle of it.

In fact, this movie sort of feels like a pilot episode. Maybe that is why Netflix is in the title? This was a test run of a television show, or a many episodic movie series that are really easy to make and produce.

And if so, it is going to be something that someone can put on an enjoy and half pay attention to, like a lot of mystery/crime television shows. This is not a movie that you would rush out and recommend to your friends, but there is nothing inherently awful about it. It is just safe. A safe and easy movie.

Good on Garlin, who decided to write, direct, and star in this movie. A passion project for him and one that didn’t crash and burn.

2 out of 4.

Buster’s Mal Heart

Buster’s Mal Heart is by far one of the most interesting seeming movies I have ever been excited to see thanks to the trailers. That’s right, trailers, I saw more than one.

The first one I saw, it was short, full of intriguing scenes and I had no fucking clue what it was about. The second one I saw, it was longer, a completely different tone from the first, newer scenes and I still had no fucking clue what it was about.

So that is great! Trailers that don’t spoil the film and only make me need to see it even harder.

And you know what is even better? The title! On it’s own, it too, is mysterious. It sort of reminds me of Fight Club, the “I am Jack’s Complete Lack of Surprise” additions and all. I am Buster’s Mal Heart.

I am Buster’s Dirty Beard.

Jonah (Rami Malek) is a man working an overnight shift at a hotel near a resort town. He has a wife (Kate Lyn Sheil) and a small baby girl, but he cannot see them a lot because of his shift schedule, making him extremely tired while they are awake. Sleep? Who needs sleep?

Sometimes, sometimes though he is Buster. Buster is a man living in the mountains, who is known for staying in vacation homes while the owners are away, eating their food, using their showers, and giving not a fuck. The cops are looking out for him.

And even sometimes after that? Sometimes he is a dude on the boat, seemingly on a vast endless ocean.

Buster/Jonah is a lot of things, and often at the same time. But one thing for sure is that a mysterious man (DJ Qualls) keeps visiting him at night, wanting to pay with cash to stay in rooms, talking about a tech uprising, living life off of the grid, and how the government fucking sucks.

Life is hard for Jonah. Life is unique for Buster. And life is who knows what the fuck for the guy on that ocean.

Holy shit, is he also sometimes Lurch from The Addams Family?

Buster’s Mal Heart is a mysterious whirlwind that seemingly goes back and forth through time about some guy who is clearly having a breakdown. A very long, life changing, breakdown.

Malek is so damn perfect in this role, and honestly, I know very little about him as an actor. He has had many forgettable roles in his past, but his recent claim to fame has been Mr. Robot. I only got a few episodes in to the series before I knew it was something that wasn’t for me, but that same detached from reality feeling is all over this movie, almost as if this role was specifically made for him.

Despite the shenanigans and the twists, I do think this film was was a bit ambitious with its overarching plot, where I will admit I ended up reading the Wikipedia plot description to see if it would help. It did. It also make me shrug, kind of mumble to myself “okay” and just accept it, although I didn’t really necessarily get the same reaction out of it. It would be one thing if I interpreted the film in a different direction and had something to debate about. But instead the issue is I didn’t interpret it in ANY direction and really just needed help figuring out what the heck it is I just watched.

Buster’s Mal Heart is an artsy film. It explores some weird shit. It has some great lead acting by Rami Malek. But at the end of the day, I could barely tell someone what it was about.

2 out of 4.