Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tusk (tbc) | Film Review

Tusk, dir/wr. Kevin Smith, st. Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, Génesis Rodríguez, Johnny Depp

Douchey Wallace Bryton (Long) and his pal Teddy Craft (Osment) host an increasingly popular podcast in which they take a wry and often savage look at viral videos and general memology called The Not-See Party (try saying it in an American accent). When Wallace flies to Canada to interview  internet star the Kill Bill Kid (think the Star Wars Kid but with more amputation), he arrives to find the star of The Not-See Party's next show has taken his own life with the very same samurai sword he wielded in his infamous video. Undeterred, and determined to come away from Manitoba with a story for the podcast, Wallace sees an ad that promises high tales from a man who calls himself Howard Howe. On meeting Howe, he regales Wallace with stories of shipwrecks and unlikely flipperéd saviours, although Wallace is unaware Howe's been looking through the Tom Six book of Arts and Crafts. Although Smith's - let's call it 'horror' - film treads a path worn to its very foundations, there is still an undeniably high level of discomfort elicited from the thought of irrevocable decision-making, when characters in the genre set down a road from which there is no return. It's a staple trope, but as time can testify, yet an effective one. Tusk is also a movie that plays with the idea of karmic retribution; Wallace undergoes an enforced transformation from his conceited self into something altogether more primal; it's almost as if by initially judging Wallace from our armchairs, we're sanctioning the events unfolding on screen. It's debatable whether a throwaway subject for an informal podcast (Smith's own) could ever contain the weight or tonal shifts necessary to sustain a full feature, and Tusk does indeed lose its way once the full hokey extent of Wallace's surgery is revealed (in this regard, remember how subtle the original Human Centipede VFXs were) and Depp's bumbling cop Guy Lapointe is introduced, seemingly beamed in from another movie entirely. Tusk is a curiosity for sure, but for such an audacious premise, curiously hollow.