A macabre and ultraviolent Venus flytrap of a film from Russia that snaps shut with a steely clang. Its original title conveys a bit more succinctly what it’s about: “Papa, sdokhni”, or “Daddy, die”. With its slick and ingenious brutality, it exists on a continuum somewhere between Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino, maybe triangulated with a bit of Sergio Leone: there’s some Morricone-ish keening on the soundtrack.
Andrei is a middle-aged cop, played by Vitaliy Khaev: a bulky, shaven-headed guy clearly accustomed to a career in violence. His wife is Tasha (Elena Shevchenko), who has retreated into an ethereal depression. We join the story as he is sitting down to supper in his modest apartment, with Tasha busying herself morosely in the kitchen, when a tough-looking young man called Metvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) rings the doorbell, asking to be let in.
He claims to be the boyfriend of Andrei’s daughter, Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde), and for some reason is concealing a claw hammer on his person. From here, the violence kicks off mightily, interspersed with flashbacks showing the relationship of Metvey and Olya, and her life as a stage performer – she is currently playing Ophelia in a production of Hamlet.
We also find out about Andrei’s fraught friendship with fellow cop Yevgenich (Michael Gor) and, if we’re looking for more literary references, Yevgenich’s wife seems to bear a strange resemblance to Virginia Woolf. Writer-director-editor Kirill Sokolov has made a stylish feature debut and absorbed the influence of the western film-makers mentioned above, as well as the hammer-wielding horror of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 epic Oldboy, which continues to exert its terrible grip on the imaginations of film-makers.
Why Don’t You Just Die! is an accomplished film that makes the very most of its limited sets, without seeming constricted or stagey.
Source: The Guardian