The Devil's Business Movie Review
Directed by Sean Hogan
Written and directed by Sean Hogan
2012, 69 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 10th September 2012
Billy Clarke as Pinner
Jack Gordon as Cully
Jonathan Hansler as Kist
Harry Miller as Bruno
Director Sean Hogan makes a solid case for style over substance in his skin and bones feature debut The Devil’s Business. This shadowy tale walks the fine line between gritty gangster thriller and supernatural occult story, all the while managing to adequately separate itself from those inevitable Kill List comparisons. On paper, the two movies seem to exist in the same deranged universe but on screen The Devil’s Business takes on its own life thanks to some great performances and a confident director at the helm.
Our story centres on two hitmen, Cully and Pinner, the former a wet-behind-the-ears rookie, the latter a grizzled veteran who’s seen and done some nasty things. The duo are sent to a creepy house in the dead of night by their boss Bruno to wait for their target to return home from the opera. Having arrived a little early, they have some time to kill and the conversation inevitably starts flowing. Intrigued by his partner’s life of crime, Cully asks Pinner to describe the scariest thing he’s ever seen. What follows is a nail biting account of Pinner’s worst day on the job, an experience that leads you to believe there’s more going on here than earthly evil. Before long, the guy their boss wants dead returns home but killing him proves more difficult than either of them anticipated.
With The Devil’s Business Hogan shows that he can handle heavy dialogue while also creating an eerie tweaked reality. Like a good, scary campfire story the lengthy speeches heard here draw you in instead of sending you to sleep. Combine that with a backdrop flecked with satanic worship and the stage is set for a something sinister. Think the wordiness of Tarantino mixed with the shadowy unease of Argento and you’ll get a sense of what’s on offer here.
However, it’s the performances that hold the whole thing together. As Cully the sweaty-palmed newbie, Jack Gordon does a great job of playing with your emotions. Hiding behind his cock-sure facade is a frightened kid who’s slowly realising that he’s in too deep. He wants out and as things get darker you too will be hoping he gets through this unscathed. Meanwhile Billy Clarke turns in a powerhouse performance as the frosty hard-man Pinner. His through-gritted-teeth persona makes him resemble a Northern Irish Clint Eastwood with a dark past. His hands are bloody with a life of unspeakable crime and during this otherworldly job he’s slowly starting to realise just what he’s taken and just what he’s owed.
By the time the credits roll your mind will be racing with any number of possible interpretations for what you’ve just seen. Like the decades of death that have scared Pinner’s subconscious, The Devil’s Business proves to be a Brit chiller that’s not easily forgotten.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.