Why Don’t You Just Die! (2018)

Saw this at the Leiden International film festival 2019 (LIFF.nl). Revenge on revenge, and lots of greed, the sum of it spiraling out of control. It all happens within a single apartment, with only a few outdoor scenes in the form of flashbacks. We are “lucky” (mind the quotes) that all the unpleasant things that people do to each other, are accompanied by an unusual musical score, not exactly the kind we would expect to go along with the ample gore we see. Surprisingly, it works as a welcome relief, keeping us at a safe distance from the nasty things happening. As usual, do not try any of this at home.

The story builds up in steps. It starts simple when Matiev rings Andrei’s doorbell, armed with a hammer, determined to act on the request of his girl friend annex Andrei’s daughter, to let him pay for abusing his daughter since she was eight years old. But things are not as simple as he and we thought. More and more people appear wanting revenge, not necessarily on the same person, eventually arriving at a complex maze of people who want others to suffer for their deeds in the past.

The story is well told and is clear throughout, despite its complexities. It keeps us interested while waiting for the next unexpected plot twist and subsequent surprising turn of event. The results on screen are not for the weak of heart, especially not for those fainting on the sight of blood. A remarkable thing is that the protagonists don’t die easily, proving to be more resilient than we assumed at first sight. And a seemingly clear-cut victim can as easily prove not-so-innocent, even becoming a determined killer later. Changing roles and turning tables is part of the game here.

All in all, be prepared to step over (metaphorically) loads of blood and gore. Just focus on the interesting complexities of the plot, bringing along many new ingredients and unexpected turns of events.

Review by JvH48

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