Kirill Sokolov (director)
20 April 2020 (released)
18 April 2020
Why Don’t You Just Die is a Russian intricately plotted farce that while doesn’t quite work as a full-blown comedy is nevertheless a very enjoyable and extremely violent twisted family drama.
Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) turns up on Andrei’s (Vitaly Khaev) doorstep asking to see his daughter Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde). She’s not in and Andrei (a police chief) is suspicious (Matvei is holding a hammer) and intrigued at the same time, so invites Matvei in. There then starts a methodical conversation that delves into Matvei’s relationship with Olya, a struggling actress but no-nonsense bartender. At the same time Natasha (Elena Shevchenko) Andrei’s wife (and virtual doormat) is in the background.
Andrei goes too far with the questioning and we are given a headed flashback to when Matvei is with Olya in conversation during which some very personal issues are discussed. Back to the present that discussion seeds a savagely violent fight between Matvei and Andrei.
Into all this stumbles Yevgenich (Michael Gor) who is Andrei’s detective colleague, and a friend. They themselves (we learn through another flashback) have been up to no good. Olya eventually arrives at the apartment thus completing the set of protagonists.
It’s all played out in one apartment and mostly in the living room, which is one of the most garish that anyone will ever set eyes on. The bright green and geometrical patterns on the wallpaper set off the red spurts of blood and gut spilling beautifully. Lest you think that this is no more than an orgy of violence, there’s also a very sharp script from writer and director Kirill Sokolov in this, his debut feature, with some very nifty camera work using almost every trick available.
Highly stylised it may be but you never feel overwhelmed by the camera’s swings and changing perspectives. The characterisation is interesting in that as the film unfolds the viewer should develop conflicting sympathies for each character which are sorely tested as the revelations come out.
It’s virtually a one room ensemble piece and the acting has a kinetic drive that is engrossing despite the relative unattractiveness of the film overall. A few words about the soundtrack which is plays on Morricone's western themes and works well within the context of the film which for sure is a curiosity.
Why Don’t You Just Die! was screened at FrightFest London on 24 August 2019.
The film will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 20 April 2020 and on the Arrow Video Channel from 4 May.