THE FACELESS MAN ** Australia 2019 Dir: James Di Martino. 126 mins
A cancer survivor after 3 years clear gets whisked away by her friends to house in the country for a drug fuelled weekend house party. Unfortunately the locals do not welcome them with open arms (“We will not have drugs in our town!”). They quickly find themselves under siege from masked invaders plus a super natural monster with long claws and no face is stalking them one by one. It does not bode well for the friends who just wanted to have a bit of fun.
This is director James Di Martino’s first feature film and it really shows. It starts off quite promising, if a little long, with a moving scene of Emily (Sophie Thurling) at the hospital having a row with her estranged father (Brendan Bacon), then once it has jumped forward 3 years Emily is a drug addled mess just like her friends and her diagnosis is all but forgotten. The rest of the movie jumps about between the friends getting messed up, the crazy locals terrorising them, a random murder and a serial killer, the Russian mafia and a suitcase, oh yeah and this weird long fingered monster ominously standing behind people causing them to vomit. It’s all so random it makes no sense at all. After the first scene all the acting potential plummets at an alarming rate. The characters are so wooden it’s really quite embarrassing. The 6 friends are all equally unlikeable (note: some of the male characters names are Brad, Chad and Dave), but the actors recruited to play the locals take awkward to brand new levels. I don’t know where to start with Barry the Cunt… Barry the Boring is far more apt!! Despite all of this though, even though it is completely misplaced, it does have a reasonably high body count and some not bad gore effects. Because they are a bit “out of the blue” effects though they do feel a bit off. Same goes for the monster, it looks great and the shots with it are the most creepy parts of the movie but you just don’t really know why it’s there even though the movie is named after the monster it is hardly featured. I kind of get what the monster represents but it is in no way explained. I can’t say I really paid much attention to the soundtrack so I don’t recall it being awful more like a bit lost in the madness. Many scenes are very drawn out with no concise conclusion and they just pile on more chaotic plot lines.
It is an incredibly difficult movie to get into, one which tries (in one last vain attempt to cram more in) to throw in some humour right at the end in the form of the finale and some scenes during the end credits. The final shot after the credits brings us right back to where we started with the last line spoken direct to camera just saying “Is this a joke?”
Erm, I don’t know … is it??
Review by Sarah Budd