February 20, 2011

The Living Wake - 2010

Director: Sol Tyron
Writers: Peter Kline & Mike O'Connell
Starring: Mike O'Connell, Jesse Eisenberg, Jim Gaffigan

"I drink to bring myself down to the level of the common man. But remember: the common man drinks, so I must drink twice as much!" K. Roth Binew (O'Connell), a self-styled eccentric artist with early 20th century flourishes in the modern world, is diagnosed with a vague yet certain disease. Along with his manservant and friend Mills Joquin (Eisenberg), he sets out to spend his last day on earth setting his affairs in order, making amends to those he wronged, and inviting literally everyone who he's interacted with to celebrate together upon his expiration.

This film went through the festival circuit back in 2007, but didn't get any real release until hitting DVD shelves last year. That's as clear a sign as any that it is certainly not for everyone. There's a very distinctive feel that this might have started out as a sketch online (too esoteric for SNL) and expanded from there. The history behind Binew and Joquin's odd friendship-meets-boss/coworker is never elaborated on as much as it should be, but O'Connell and Eisenberg do a bang-up job with what they're given, even down to Eisenberg's curious British accent. At the end of the day, the film might be a bit too quirky for its own good, but it's still a good bit of fun on a rainy day. B

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