“Kirill Sokolov’s feature-length debut is as thrilling as it is funny”
“Why Don’t You Just Die!” is a madcap dark comedy that immediately throws its viewers into the action, beginning with a contextless face-off between a young man and his girlfriend’s father that’s reminiscent of the kind of blood-soaked violence you’d find in a Quentin Tarantino film. Although no other scene matches the same high-octane energy as the film’s opening, Kirill Sokolov’s feature-length debut never has a dull moment and is often as thrilling as it is funny. It’s an expertly-paced film, with a couple of interesting twists and a likable lead (as played by Aleksandr Kuznetsov) that you’ll be glad doesn’t “just die.”
In the few moments that the main cast of “Why Don’t You Just Die!” aren’t throwing punches or torturing each other, the film allows the viewer to see a snippet of their lives prior to the events of the main narrative. These small flashbacks all relate directly to the understanding of the prolonged fight taking place in the present day, while simultaneously providing some backstory for the main cast of characters and fleshing them out into three-dimensional human beings. These scenes prove to be crucial in the understanding of Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde), the catalyst for the film’s on-going violence and her father, Andrei (Vitaliy Khaev), who the protagonist has come to kill, and are generally a nice break from the bloodshed.
Unfortunately with excess violence often comes needless violence, and this proves true for the final act of “Why Don’t You Just Die!.” In the middle of the bloodshed, one character goes to another room and commits suicide in the middle of the chaos. While the other deaths in the film have a significant amount of lead-up, it’s hard to reconcile with this particular narrative choice. Unlike the rest of the cast, the character in question has little to no established background and their personality is rather flat and one-dimensional. Given the film’s ultimate ending, the suicide merely feels like an easy way to get the character out of the way as opposed to being an action that has any meaning. At most, it showcases the degeneracy of the film’s core family unit, but this is a fact that has already been well established by the point the suicide takes place.
As baffling as this action is, it’s not a complete non sequitur to the plot and it ultimately doesn’t lessen the overall quality of the film.
Save for a few awkward camera zooms in the film’s initial fight sequence, this film has a great look to it that works well with its clever narrative. The editing often compliments the quick pace of its story and the set designs all feel thoughtfully planned out, with the most notable instance being a dynamic hole in the wall of the main set which is used throughout the course of the film as a porthole for characters (and the viewer) to peer in at the action.
Although the pitch black comedy and copious amounts of bloodshed in “Why Don’t You Just Die!” won’t be for everyone, Sokolov’s first major foray into the world of filmmaking is a thoroughly entertaining thrill-ride for anyone who can stomach its content. It will prove itself to be a surefire escape from boredom for those stuck at home this April.
Director: Kirill Sokolov
Producers: Nadezhda Stepanova, Sofiko Kiknavelidze, Elena Geladze
Cast: Vitaliy Khaev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Evgeniya Kregzhde, […]
Release Date: April 20, 2020 (US, UK)
Available On: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and Google Play on April 20th