Why Don’t You Just Die! (2018) – Film Review

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Director: Kirill Sokolov
Cast: Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Vitaliy Khaev, Evgeniya Kregzhde
Certificate: 18

by Sarah Morgan

While some might claim that a limited budget is constricting, I’d suggest that when it comes to film, the opposite is often true – far too many times we’ve had lavish productions which, despite having tonnes of cash thrown at them, turn into messy disasters.

why dont you just die film review coverMeanwhile, directors with a fragment of that to play with have to be inventive, forcing them to devise small-scale but enthralling pieces of cinematic entertainment.

Why Don’t You Just Die! certainly ranks in the latter category. Saint Petersburg-born writer-director Kirill Sokolov has crafted a short, sour and darkly comic saga set in one small apartment. Characters come and go, but he deftly ties together their stories, ending on a completely satisfying note. That this is his feature-length debut makes his achievement all the more astonishing.

“Intrigue and betrayal”

The first character to enter the fray is Metvey, a tough-looking young geezer with a hammer hidden in his waistband; as soon as we see it, we realise he’s not visiting the apartment of his in-laws to put up some shelves or help them with a tricky Ikea delivery.

He’s welcomed in by ageing cop Andrei, who could be the third Mitchell brother, and his wife Tasha, a clearly troubled soul, perhaps brow-beaten and despondent after spending years alongside her thuggish husband.

Metvey has been tasked with killing him by the couple’s daughter, who claims that daddy is a paedophile. However, the younger man is too slow to act and ends up chained in the bathroom.

A variety of figures then come and go, each attacked and sometimes dispatched in a myriad of gut-wrenching ways. Throw into the mix a bag of purloined loot hidden in a flimsy wall, and you’ve got intrigue and betrayal to contend with too.

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“Director of note in the making”

Why Don’t You Just Die! is violence à la Quentin Tarantino – it’s not light on gore, but it has a tinge of the comic book about it. Imagine he’d directed Meet the Parents and you get the idea.

Sokolov is clearly a student of cinema too, adding elements – including the soundtrack – that wouldn’t be out of place in Sergio Leone movie.

There’s no from Russia with love here, but there is a director of note in the making. Here’s hoping he stays away from Hollywood’s spendthrift producers for now so that he can continue creating small-scale masterpieces.

High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
Original lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 stereo soundtracks
Optional English subtitles
Brand new interview with author and critic Kim Newman, exploring Why Don’t You Just Die! within the context of the long-standing tradition of single location cinema
Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from rehearsals and the film set
Four short films by Kirill Sokolov: Could Be Worse, The Outcome, The Flame and the award-winning Sisyphus is Happy (Best Director and Gold Frame awards, 2013 Unprecedented Cinema International Festival of Short Film)
Theatrical trailer
Kirill Sokolov’s complete original storyboard for the film (BD-ROM content)
Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of artwork
Why Don't You Just Die! is released on Blu-ray by Arrow, £19.99

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