Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Random Acts of Violence”
By: Brian Cotnoir
It’s not always easy coming up with an original film idea. I mean just look at the stuff put out by The Asylum (no groundbreaking ideas coming from there). This is nothing new of course to the world of film, when one studio has a good idea every other studio—big or small—has to try to copy it. However, when a smaller Independent studio tries to copy a popular Big Budget Big Studio production, they’re going to fall flat in some places. Today we are taking a look at one of those films, the Independent Dark Comedy, “Random Acts of Violence”.
“Random Acts of Violence” plot is basically “American Psycho” meets “How to be a Serial Killer”, the plot revolves around an English national living in New York City, named Malcolm. Malcolm is the star of a documentary where he goes around New York City murdering random people and trying to kick-start a “revolution”. The documentary shows us an intimate look at Malcom’s personal life and how he blends in with normal society as he commits his random acts of violence.
This film was written/ directed/ produced/ edited/stars Ashley Cahill, who plays the titular Malcolm. He spends the whole movie talking with a fake-a$$ British accent being as pretentious as humanly possible, while his friends follow him around with a video camera. He is not charming, he is not likeable, in fact; he does very few things of interest throughout this film. His motivation seems entirely flawed; he keeps talking about “starting a revolution” by committing these horrendous acts of murder, but he doesn’t explain why he wants to start a revolution or even why he feels there is a need for revolution. The “Murder-For-Revolution” doesn’t even seem like a valid motive, because the people he chooses to kill for the most part all seem to be random victims: he kills one person at random, he kills another person for being rude, he plans to kill a woman because he finds her annoying, he even murders his best friend because she said that she didn’t like his spaghetti sauce! There is little to no consistency in Malcolm’s motivation.
|Malcolm Sucks so Hard!|
You get the vibe from the film that Cahill intended to write Malcom’s character as an anti-hero, but trust me you will not be pulling for him in this film. Unlike other movie self-absorbed serial killer anti-heroes like Patrick Bateman and Alex DeLarge, Malcom comes off as dislikeable and overly pretentious! Does Mr. Cahill think just because he made himself the star of the film that we have to like his character and root for him? If so he fails on a massive scale! Also, if his character was raised in England for the first 10-15 years of his life as he states in the film, then why don’t either of his parents have English accents? A little inconsistency, eh?
|Dirty Harry, he aint.|
Not only that, but for me the “Found Footage Mock-umentary” film is a major put off. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they break the biggest rule of doing the “Mock-umentary” film: Don’t make your shots look staged! For most of the film the camera angle is Point-of-View, but there a few times they break that rule. There’s one scene where the camera is shown filming a woman walking down the sidewalk, and then Malcom walks up behind her and shoots her in the back of the head (he was mad at the girl for giving him chlamydia). Other than looking totally fake there are other problems with this scene. If you were to stand in front of a person with a camera, it would be near impossible for them to not notice you, and most likely they would turn around to see if you were filming behind them! Even Kirsten Dunst noticed the camera pointing right at her in this film...oh Yeah, that’s something else I wanted to talk about in this film. The only interesting worth mentioning about this film is that it features a brief—involuntary—cameo by Kirsten Dunst. Yeah, there’s a scene where Malcom and the documentaries director are waiting in an elevator and Kirsten Dunst just happened to be where they were filming. At one point she even asks them to put the camera away. Worst. Cameo. Ever.
I would not recommend the film “Random Acts of Violence”, its cheap and overly-pretentious rip-off of two already better films. The characters range from forgettable to annoying, and I can’t think of anyone who would actually enjoy this film (that’s not Ashley Cahill).