Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Medium: film
Year: 2000
Writer/director: Ray Brady
Keywords: low-budget
Country: UK
Actor: Michael Chomiak, Teresa Churcher, Nicole Streak, Des Brady, Rowan Kenworthy, Joseph Alessi
Format: 75 minutes
Website category: British
Review date: 7 September 2012
Another low-end independent film, to put it mildly. It's in the same box as Camp Blood, basically. They're both amateur-level. Camp Blood aimed lower and wasn't ashamed of cliches, but was also more entertaining.
I looked up the writer/director, Ray Brady, who's a busy chap. He's been making these films for nearly twenty years and has eleven to his credit, although four of those came out in a splurge in 2002. I admire that. What's more, he's not just ploughing the safe furrow of slasher flicks. Intergalactic Combat sounds like a brave choice on his kind of budget, for a start. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a nasty piece about a stalker (Michael Chomiak) who fixates on a girl (Teresa Churcher), shags her fat friend and eventually starts murdering people.
He's the protagonist, by the way. Everything's from his point of view. We're his unwilling accomplices, listening to his diary entries and watching his cringeworthy chat-up attempts. Ouch, ouch. He masturbates while wearing a stolen pair of her knickers on his head. This isn't a film that's interested in being likeable.
I'll start at the beginning. We get the expected Unnatural-Looking Credits In A Strange Font, after which you'll notice a wobbly camera and eccentric editing. The wobbly camera is deliberate, by the way. It's reflecting Chomiak's psychological state, which means you can expect to be watching a lot of this film in underwater-o-vision. There's also a voice-over info-dump that under other circumstance I'd have assumed was a parody. Chomiak follows Churcher around and does parallel shopping. "You've got exactly the same goods that young lady bought."
It's also obvious immediately that these aren't professional actors... except that, technically, they are. Look up the cast of this film and they've been in lots of things. Torchwood, Casualty, Doctors, EastEnders, Oliver Twist, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, Bronson, Ashes to Ashes, etc. Some of them even appear to have been moderately successful at it. There are a lot of actors out there, some more successful than others, and it's not hard to snare a few even for a project like this. It'll be another entry on your CV. It all counts as experience. I don't know whether or not he paid them, but the quality of the performances he got from them suggests "not". As with Camp Blood, it's the cameo characters you need to be prepared for. Again, ouch.
What comes next is the worst thing in the movie. I don't mind (as much) the unlikeable loser stalker protagonist who pays for rape, because that's the point of the film. What I do mind is the movie's incomprehension of the romantic behaviour of human beings. "You're a real gentleman" after a two-word conversation? Fixing up a blind date for your best friend with someone you've only known for fifteen seconds? No, no, no! Furthermore, Chomiak is playing a published SF writer who's doing well enough financially to live off his novels, yet he never even asks if the girls might have heard of any of them, let alone suggest that they might read one or two. They don't even ask about the titles. Gyaaaah! Unbelievable. These are not human beings. I'll admit that "she fancied you" is funny, but all this is excruciating and it's a mercy when everyone's at last settled down to being friends and we no longer have to endure the movie's sex and chat-up lines. (This takes about twenty minutes.) The actors look terrible, but it's the script's fault.
Random observations:
1. Leslie Penis on Shite FM appears to be impersonating Dame Edna Everage.
2. The scene where he practices his jokes is funny, even if the scene where he tells them to the others is painful.
3. The devil baby story amused me. Its silliness is fine, due to its unreliable narrator.
4. They worked hard on the soundtrack.
5. Both main female characters go topless. If you've ever wanted to see a fat girl's jubblies, here's your chance.
The storyline is no fun, obviously. This is deliberate. Thus I didn't enjoy it and found the film by turns annoying and repellent, but I respect the fact that it's swinging for the fences and going for challenging territory you'd associate more with 1970s cinema. The ending is downright disconcerting. However personally I found it an additional turn-off that not only is Chomiak a stalker who enjoys killing people, but furthermore he's pathetic and an idiot. His chat-up techniques are risible. He has a Creepy Stalker Lair, which he keeps locked and tells his girlfriend not to enter. Uh-huh.
The acting hurt me just as badly, though. Des Brady as a hitman actually annoyed me. "Walk away or die." That crossed a line. He's actually acted in a fair few films, but always for Ray Brady. I presume they're brothers.
Did I like this film? Hell, no. I bought the DVD, but it's now in the bin. (The disc feels just as cheap as the opening credits, incidentally, even lacking chapters.) However I respect the fact that its writer/director wasn't taking the easy road, whereas Blood Camp chose an entry bar so low (the slasher genre) that it's impossible not to clear it. Ray Brady wanted to make a film that's uncomfortable to watch. He succeeded. What's more, plenty of people on its imdb page seem to have really gone for it. Far from following an oft-beaten trail, it's making choices you almost never see from modern mainstream cinema. I can understand a movie-goer appreciating that.