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EIFF 2018: DEAD IN A WEEK (OR YOUR MONEY BACK) Review

By Simon Read [07.04.18]


The first feature from writer/director Tom Edmunds is a black comedy which is fun, but not particularly funny. The film is a charming romp, and sometimes comedy is more about comfort than humour, but I laughed only four times, which doesn't feel like quite enough.


Aneurin Barnard plays William, a depressed young man who has attempted (and failed at) suicide so many times that he's decided to write a book on the subject. When his writing is discovered by publishing editor Ellie (Freya Mavor) and the two begin a furtive courtship, it looks like William's life is about to get better.


There's only one problem. William has decided to hire a professional hitman named Leslie (Tom Wilkinson) to dispatch him once and for all, and Leslie is desperate to make his monthly 'killing quota', or he'll be fired from the hitman agency.


The set up here is well-handled, with requisite meet-cutes, amusing suicide attempt flashbacks, and a little about Leslie's routine and domestic life too (his supportive wife's needlecraft projects, his demanding pet budgies). The film itself is lively, well-paced and nicely shot.



There's not a whole lot more to say, except that it never quite transcends the material to become more than the sum of its parts, and this is a shame. The fact is that for a comedy it just isn't funny enough.


Wilkinson seems an odd choice for a film like this, not being particularly associated with comedy, he often seems a little lost here, and so plays the role relatively straight. Barnard and Mavor make an attractive couple, which is all I can really remember about their characters.


Christopher Eccleston cameos as a ruthless gangster, and it's almost (almost) worth seeing the film just to watch him having fun in the role. His character is the highlight of the film.


The best films stay with you, and so do the worst. If you're looking for 90 minutes of untaxing escapism then you could do much worse than Dead in a Week, but you won't remember it a week later. I somehow doubt that'll make the DVD cover.




Recommended Release: Take Me




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