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Director’s Cut (2016)

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Director's Cut

Director's CutStarring Missi Pyle, Penn Jillette, Harry Hamlin, Hayes MacArthur

Directed by Adam Rifkin

Screened at FrightFest 2016


After donating enough money to the crowdfunding efforts of low-rent serial killer flick Knocked Off, weirdo Herbert Blount (Jillette) earns himself a Producer credit and the opportunity to be on set throughout filming.

This very simple situation leads to the film you now watch: Director’s Cut.

The concept here is that the footage from director Adam Rifkin’s “Knocked Up” has been stolen by the maniacal Blount and re-edited using a mixture of the finished film, deleted footage and Blount’s own on- and off-set recordings… most interestingly, those in which he records himself stalking, kidnapping and eventually shooting new scenes with film star Missi Pyle, with whom he is completely obsessed.

One of the most gloriously inventive film experiences in years, Director’s Cut plays out with the likeable – but quite clearly out of his mind – Blount providing an almost constant commentary over his edition of the film. He fills us in on his motivations, why certain shots were stylistically chosen, what to look out for in terms of product placement and even waxes lyrical on what he thinks certain filmmaking terms mean as demonstrated on-screen. Often he’s wrong; other times he’s right on with a little twist… and it makes for a seriously fun time for anyone with even a modicum of experience within the industry.

Director’s Cut tends to feel very lighthearted; and Blount, whilst obviously suffering from more than a few loose screws in the ol’ noggin, comes across as a harmless idiot. Yes, he’s creepy; yes, things eventually get dark when kidnapping and more uncomfortable situations arise – but you never get the sense that he would intentionally hurt Missi.

The manner in which Director’s Cut unfolds is borderline genius, getting everything a standard narrative would need to have – such as how Blount acquires the footage he’s using and how he manages to work himself into Missi’s life – through to the audience by having Blount himself include it in his edition of Knocked Off. These scenes are relevant to the story of Knocked Off in Blount’s twisted mind, and his commentary details the artistic and plot significance as relates to Rifkin’s original film. Some are even crudely edited with animation and Blount providing voiceover – turning, for example, a spied-on lunch between Missi and her sister becoming a hilarious, hard-boiled police discussion.

It’s quirky, it’s insane… and it’s riotously entertaining.

The cast are excellent across the board here, admirably managing the multiple layers necessary in terms of being an actor playing an actor playing a character whilst also playing themselves. The star of the show is most definitely Penn Jillette, however, and it’s unsurprising to see that he also wrote the film… because you simply won’t be able to imagine anybody else in the shoes of Herbert Blount. The voice, the enthusiasm, the playfulness… nobody could have nailed this like Jillette does, though he comes very close to being upstaged by the short appearance of his real-life on-stage showman pal, Teller – the usually-silent magician delivering a gut-busting (yes, spoken!) performance that you will never, ever forget.

Director’s Cut does suffer slightly from being a one-note joke, but the humour comes thick and fast and Jillette’s lovable psycho is a constant pleasure to listen to. There’s always the sense of a surprise waiting just around the corner, so even when Director’s Cut finds its grip on pacing begin to slip, your attention is unlikely to wander too far given how frequently things get crazy.

You’ll need a tolerance/appreciation of bad movies (Knocked Off is intentionally derivative, unbelievable and cheesy) and a dark sense of humour if you’re going to get the most out of Director’s Cut – but if you can personally mark those on your list, then get ready for one of the most unique, oddball, self-aware and eminently enjoyable dark comedies you’re ever likely to see.

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User Rating 3.69 (13 votes)

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