Did you know “I Onde Dager” is in translation for In Bad Times instead of that stupid generic title Netflix gave it? Well, regardless, here’s a jubilant but messy combination of Don’t Breathe and Mr & Mrs. Smith with a little bit of Tarantino sprinkled in.
This is yet another movie condensed within the lenses of the contained thriller and director Tommy Wirkola hardly elevates that somewhat lost art here, balancing out the cheekiness of its wacky premise and combatting it against production values that only just match the illusion of the scope and scale required for the story. But because the way it’s spliced and edited together is done for comedic effect, I couldn’t necessarily dissect how Tommy intended this to play out.
On its own, it’s decent but whenever the film calls for the opposite effect, it’s more distracting than anything else. As a director, he’s known for his bold and brash mixture of slapstick and visceral humor and violence, both of which is made clear when it comes to the action sequences; these are just as vibrant and violent as Tarantino but depending on who’s watching, it can be a major turn-off.
Said production design barely does anything interesting with its setting to further accustom the payoff it promises, dialogue felt distracting the entire way through, the surprise antagonists overstay their welcome and REALLY didn’t need to be in this, all symptoms of plausibility fly straight out the window once the third act kicks in and every time comedy comes back to illicit an emotional response, it’s more of an annoyance than a coolant that breaks the ice.
Only a few things hold up. Noomi Rapace and Aksel Hennie sell the static to dramatic tectonic plates of a dysfunctional marriage, bringing out the best within each other with macabre ease, leaving the supporting cast a peg short in catching up to them. When it’s comedic elements do land, it’s a passable hit and despite the absence of depth in the plot, the circumstances surrounding the concept clicked just enough to insure the audience wouldn’t turn away.
To its credit, even when the film does become repetitive going through the same beats over and over again with its predictable nature, thank god the pacing doesn’t let up whenever things get a little hazy. But the tone is ridiculously scattershot. I understand as it’s supposed to be a dark comedy…..but it’s not just the action sequences that derailed that train. As soon as forty minutes in, all the ridiculousness that bolstered the opening half and supplied all this energy is toned down and replaced by a straight-forward Home Alone escapade. Predictability skyrockets afterwards and no amount of tomfoolery could save what I knew was going to happen.
Ready Or Not was able to cook up a rather outrageous serving of black comedy amidst its concept as well, but at least it knew the hinderance behind not taking itself too seriously, plus it had personality behind it. The scripts’ persistence on keeping everything afterwards so serious here soiled over any potential rewatch-ability. This honestly couldn’t worked much better as a short film.
Not much can really be deduced further here; it’s fun for a bit but once it distances itself from the set-up, all that intrigue is inevitably reduced to a pointless gimmick.