8 October 2012

Raindance 2012: Mon Ami Review

Smudged with the finger prints of the Coen brothers comes Canadian slacker-kidnapping caper Mon Ami, a darkly comic feature from writer/director Rob Grant. His first film Yesterday garnered widely favourable reviews, something he can expect to continue with this follow-up. Cal and Teddy are best friends unenthusiastically working at a Hardware superstore, undermined by customers and going nowhere fast. When these two long serving employees are overlooked for a promotion they concoct a plan and, like all good plans it involves kidnapping their boss’ daughter.

    Apparently unaware that ‘the best laid plans of mice and men oft do go astray’ this soon becomes plainly evident for our protagonists as, despite a meticulously prepared set-up theirs becomes a lesson in how not to conduct a kidnapping. From the offset the path is far from smooth as the practicalities of capturing the bait prove trickier than expected, quickly establishing our leads as truly inept hostage-takers. That (unlucky in more ways than one) hostage; Crystal, soon proves to be equally less reliable in her role as obliging victim than they had envisaged and when an attempted breakout goes unnoticed the stakes are invariably raised. Out of their depth and forced to alter their plan the two aren’t aided by the constant interruptions of Teddy’s wife Liz whose interspersed phone calls serve as effective tension breakers as well as to annoy the increasingly irritated Cal. The tension within the three is a running theme of the film and asks questions about male friendship and where they go if one’s life-plan differs to the other. Here, the perception is that they turn to crime to re-connect their bromance and there’s a felling that Cal is largely doing this simply to spend some time with his best friend away from his ‘nagging wife’ – that is very much the image of Liz in a role that won’t endear itself to many a female.

    The graphically bloodstained moments of the film are reminiscent of Tarintino or American Psycho and well balanced with the comic elements of the film with the overall effect coming across as something far more akin to Fargo. It’s to Grant’s credit that the comparisons don’t feel far overstretched, taking care to establish these believable characters in unbelievable situations as well as crafting neat stylistic touches.
Yesterday was unfairly but inevitably compared to Shaun of the Dead but alongside his sophomore effort he can rightly claim to be carving out a niche very much of his own. By establishing his own set of rules, language and narrative his is a tone destined for cult following.

Matthew Walsh

UK Release Date: 2nd October 2012 (Raindance Film Festival)
Directed By: Rob Grant
Cast: Mike Kovac, Scott Wallis, Bradley Duffy,

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