Sponsor

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

DEAD IN A WEEK: OR YOUR MONEY BACK review
A young man hires an assassin to take his life, but soon regrets it.







Review by Blair MacBride

Directed by: Tom Edmunds

Starring: Aneurin Barnard, Christopher Eccleston, Tom Wilkinson, Freya Mavor

DEAD IN A WEEK: OR YOUR MONEY BACK poster

Not necessarily toeing the line of a usual festival programme, Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back is a particularly dark comedy which never takes itself (or the scenario on which it’s based) too seriously. At times hilarious, at others perhaps a tad blasé, this movie definitely has the vibe of dividing its audience.

DEAD IN A WEEK: OR YOUR MONEY BACK

William (Aneurin Barnard) is a depressed writer who, in his own words, has been "beyond help" for some time. Having had none of his work published and with no family to support him, this film’s protagonist chooses to be resolute in his decision to commit suicide as an escape from his "meaningless existence." But death mocks William as he fails to kill himself 10 times.

As a result of his misfortune - so to speak - he decides to outsource his suicide by enlisting the services of ageing assassin Leslie (Tom Wilkinson): as part of the British Guild of Assassins, Leslie has to make up his death quota or face retirement. With the contract signed and his demise assured within a week (or his money back), William then suddenly discovers, however, his reasons to live as new opportunities finally come his way. At the same time, Leslie remains persistent in the quest to meet his quota despite his task seeming more difficult than first thought.

DEAD IN A WEEK: OR YOUR MONEY BACK

The issue for any dark comedy such as this is whether or not the line of morality has been crossed in the film’s script. In all honesty, Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back does a damn fine job at creating a genuinely funny comedy - the writing (although not to everybody’s liking) doesn’t stray too far into the realms of offensive and its witty humour really does get you laughing: the eclectic mix of fine British acting by Barnard, Freya Mavor, Wilkinson and Christopher Eccleston also really contributes to the comical nature of this film.

That said, we now rightly live in a world where mental health is every bit as important as its physical sibling. As a result, the subject of mental health has to be treated with great care in all forms of media, let alone modern cinema. Suicide is a tragedy not only for the person who feels that the only way to escape life’s troubles is to cut their life short, but also for that person’s family and friends who then have to deal with the inexorable grief that befalls them. With this film’s controversial premise in mind, it does call into question whether a script such as this is tasteful in the current climate: particularly when jokes that feature in the film are of a nature that might sit comfortably with the viewer at one point, and then cross the line at the next.

DEAD IN A WEEK: OR YOUR MONEY BACK

At the same time, too much thought about the concept of this movie will just deter from how Dead in a Week should be viewed. Although division of opinion can be expected, take it at face value - an obscure, but funny, comedy that’s trying to make you laugh.

Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back won’t be for everyone. Definitely do a little prior research and find out whether or not this type of film is for you. If it is, then this dark comedy’s hilarity will not let you down.



discussion by