TALL MEN * USA 2016 Dir: Jonathan Holbrook 133 mins
Writer-director Holbrook has arduously reworked his pre-credit-crunch thriller CUSTOMER 152 (2004) with TALL MEN, in which twitchy, mentally challenged young Dan Crisafulli applies for bankruptcy to escape his $82,000 of personal debt – but then finds himself descending into paranoia after ill-advisedly taking out a unique new credit card.
There’s an amusing, engaging concept at the core of this movie, transplanting the very real issues of irresponsible lending and hostile debt collectors into a sub-X FILES narrative incorporating much chatter about reptilian conspiracies and the eponymous trio of black-clad heavies, named “Tic”, “Tac” and “Toe”. It’s broadly played, with annoyingly over-acted secondary characters and Crisafulli’s wearying performance pitched somewhere between Norman Bates and Mr. Bean. It’s also outrageously extended: the story could have made for a witty, tidy episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, but is here dragged out for more than two hours, with an enormous amount of padding and an overwhelming sense of tedium setting in before the first half-hour is up. Everything is protracted, from the establishing shots of people walking from their car into buildings to lingering film-within-the-film excerpts during Crisafulli’s awkward cinema date-night.
Review by Steven West