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REVIEW: “A Killer Conversation”

“What’s the use of having an ‘almost’ shitty life? The ‘almost’ is hardly any consolation, is it?”

A Killer Conversation, written by Michael Haberfelner and directed by David V G Davies, stars Melanie Denholme (also serving as producer), Ryan Hunter, and Rudy Barrow.

It takes less than 1 minute for Karl (Hunter) to hear a knock at the door, and upon answering, be knocked out by a burglar (Barrow) who then enters Karl’s flat with plans to rob and kill him. Before getting to the plundering, however, the burglar is a bit hungry and decides to keep Karl alive for a few moments so that the burglar can enjoy some company as he eats the meal that Karl had just been preparing for himself.

Thus begins this absurd dark comedy, where the burglar and Karl philosophize about life, love, and proper manners around Karl’s kitchen table. The burglar even promises to do the dishes after he kills Karl, so that when the neighbors find his body, they don’t judge him as a filthy beast.

Before passing on to the great beyond, Karl has few regrets, but one regret he does have is that he never patched things up with his ex, Pauline (Denholme). Luckily, because this is a movie where the unexpected is pretty much expected, Pauline just then happens to show up for a visit.

Unfortunately for Karl, however, Pauline seems to have little interest in actually patching things up, nor does she seem to have any interest in helping Karl escape from his current situation – tied up and counting the minutes until his death. She begins to carry on familiar conversations with the burglar, bringing up her and Karl’s history, and enticing the burglar to enjoy some wine while the ex-lovers hash out their problems of the past.

There is little reason to care about any of these characters, even poor Karl, as he has led such a pessimistic life that he doesn’t even seem to care that he may be killed soon. His only reason to hang on for a little longer is to reconcile with Pauline, but she makes it clear that she has no manners and little remaining feelings for Karl at all. In fact, she spent most of their prior time together trying to force his behavior and taking his belongings for granted.

As the burglar begins to fill more of a counselor’s role, Karl and Pauline bicker about the past, watch an old sex tape, and almost make amends. If only Pauline had any sense of empathy, they might be able to heal their wounds so Karl could continue living… and if only the burglar didn’t have a duty to his profession.

I know that on paper, one would think that a murderous burglar would be the villain in a film like this, but the movie actually plays out like more of a buddy comedy where the evil ex-girlfriend is the real menace. This character dynamic is what keeps the film interesting, as the story is a very dialogue-driven one.

Shot in 3 days, all in one location, and with a cast/crew of around 6 total bodies, I will cut the filmmakers a little slack for some of their missteps – the most apparent being distracting camerawork and choppy editing, which I assume was meant to bring a little more excitement to a single-location story. The real story, though, is the conversation, and it is a killer one.

This film contains some foul language, brief nudity, and just a touch of violence.

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