A man who is terminally ill patrols the streets looking for someone to kill him in the short film Beautiful Violence by writer/director Joey Medina. Here is our review.
The premise for Beautiful Violence immediately stood out – having a man dying due to having a terminal disease and then wanting to go out on his own terms, even if that is by being murdered, is so interesting, that you can’t help but want to watch what happens.
Opening with a high shot looking over a graffitied bridge, we are then introduced to a nervous white man called Chad (Bill Dawes) as he drives around a US city looking for something. He soon stops beside an alleyway, where he witnesses a drug deal taking place between a buyer and a local African American dealer called Carlos (Eric Blake).
Chad then gets out of the car, approaches Carlos, and instigates a one-sided fight by throwing insulting and racist words at the dealer. Once the beatdown is finished, both men stop and sit down for a talk, where Chad admits he provoked Carlos in the hope he would be shot and killed.
Nearly all of the ten-minute short (barring the initial car scene) takes place in the alleyway, with the majority of that with both men sat against a wall talking. It’s a very basic way of filmmaking, but sometimes you don’t need unnecessary cuts or location changes if you want the audience to focus on both the story and the performances of the actors.
The script, whilst emotionally powerful in parts, does have some exposition and also leaves some questions unanswered too. It is revealed that Chad isn’t actually racist, his wife and children are black, but he used those racist terms in order to be killed. Well, doesn’t he realise that, had Carlos shot him, the racial divide would increase, due to a black dealer murdering an innocent white businessman in cold blood? He certainly wouldn’t be helping the cause for his own selfish needs? Though, you could argue that Chad probably wasn’t thinking straight due to having death hanging over his head.
The performances of both Bill Dawes and Eric Blake are good. They both portray their characters in a believable manner. For the most part, though, I felt like I was watching a video of a live stage performance in a theatre. That is not a bad thing at all. After all, some of the greatest stories ever written and some of the greatest performances, have come from the theatre. It just didn’t have a cinematic feel to it, in my opinion. I believe, Beautiful Violence, if extended, with a few more characters and situations before the big ending, would be a fantastic theatre show. I would definitely buy a ticket to that.
Overall, Beautiful Violence is a good two-hander with a really interesting premise. It’s well performed and made. Recommended.