Doubleplusungood Movie Review
Written by Rachel Knightley
Released by One Eyed Films
Directed by Marco Laguna
Written by Wild Dee and Marco Laguna
2017, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Delfine Bafort as Eve
Georges Beguin as Brother
Séverine De Streyker as Lucifer's girl 1
Wild Dee as Dago Cassandra
With a title borrowed from one world of established reference and a plot from another, Doubleplusungood (a Newspeak term from George Orwell’s 1984) is compellingly unapologetic for its self-consciousness. Small-time crook Dago Cassandra (co-creator Wild Dee) returns from fifteen years of exile on a mission to eliminate the Twelve Apostles of Lucifer, whom he deems to be those holding corrupt power in his society. Within this narrative framing device are episodic mini-scenes, centring on those he smites in the name of his own sense of justice. This allows the film elegant and individual moments as art-house exploitation, carnage and car chase.
The initial goodwill generated by slick production values and score diminishes as what seems like confident, slow scene-setting fails to contrast with anything to come. Cassandra’s straight-to-camera narration leaves no doubt and makes no apology for his bloody mission or philosophy but quickly becomes repetitive, and differs too little from his character-to-character dialogue for either to contribute enough to our sense of him or his world. It also means pace suffers long before his victims do. Screen violence is well-polished and the scenarios well-told but the story has not enough of its own to say for one that relies so heavily on talking. This is particularly frustrating as co-creator and director Marco Laguna shows an eye for imagery and genre that could make many of the shorter, internalised episodes a nuanced and intriguing full-length film. The overwhelming use of stock phrase and familiar imagery (beyond the literary and religious borrowings of title and plot) is a deliberate choice but the film needs more of its own voice or message to justify that choice. It tries to match or overshadow its verbosity with blood but ultimately this is a disservice to both aspects. A visually striking and enjoyable but ultimately undernourished action horror.