Directed by Kevin Smith, Written by Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith. While certainly one quirky character in the world of film, it seems that he enjoyed making the intimidating film Red State, so much so that it would seem that he has decided to take an extremely large dose of psilocybin mushrooms in order to produce this insane, bizarre, yet downright hilarious film. We all know the plot, so I won’t rehash it. What interests me though is that this movie seems to be seen by some as a horror movie. It couldn’t be further from such a thing, nor is it anything remotely close to such a thing. Surreal? You betcha. Original? No arguments there. Twisted and just plain fucked up? Definetely. But this movie is in no way scary, creepy, or any other similar adjective that would point to this being a horror film. If this is considered a horror film, then so is The Human Centipede, one of the most ridiculous movies of recent memory; yet another movie that is thoroughly hollow in its attempts to elicit scares, or groans, or whatever that particular director was aiming for. To put it short – that movie was no more than a bucket of lukewarm piss that has been sitting in a solitary prison cell for weeks on end.
However, TUSK is not like this, and I really wish comparisons to that idiotic movie mentioned above would cease, as Kevin Smith succeeds in not only making this an extremely twisted tale with an absurdly ridiculous plot, but he also manages to make it hilarious. This here folks is a dark comedy of the finest order. In addition to the dark comedy, this movie is clearly self-deprecating at some level. Smith is himself a podcaster, just like the main chatacter, looking for wacky stories to talk about to the bored people who can be bothered listening. I found this aspect great as it shows that not only is Smith willingly ready to make fun of himself for laughs, he is also comfortable stepping out of his comfort zone of stoner comdies, which we first saw with Red State. There is even a section near the end of the credits where, I assume during one of his own podcasts, he literally rips into his own movie and makes fun of the absurdity of it all. This all makes the experience a little more light-hearted; and the sudden appearence of an unrecognizable Johnny Depp, convinced that he is on the trail of this twisted man, further lightens the tone of the movie. Almost every line Depp uttered was hilarious (done excellently in a French Canadian accent), as he explains to the abductee’s friends, looking desperately for him, that on one memorable day, he met this man. His recollection that follows is a barrel of hilaritry, and the laughs don’t stop; they are constant throughout the entire film, ranging from the slightly childish and immature, to the realities of the situation at hand, to finally its later stages, where the movie moves into dark, black as the the night sky comedy. Which I must admit is right up my alley. I was muffling my own laughter to not seem rude!
The final act is elevated significantly by the performance of Michael Parks, who again shines and truly transforms himself into an animal of a person. If you thought he was great in Red State, which he most certainly was, you will be shocked at his performance here. Throwing all caution to the wind, he willingly embraces the insanity of his character to the very end, constantly elliciting laughs at his plain fucked up behaviour.
While the plot of this movie is no doubt ridiculous, the incredibly comedic elements, done in so many different styles, is what makes this movie something to watch at least once. Laughs are guaranteed. Scares are not. Go in expecting to laugh, and you will have a ball following Smith’s latest creation, easily the most departed film from the rest of his filmography.
3.5/5 – I thought that perhaps the ending could have had more heft, and more laughs, and I also thought that the podcaster’s life before he turned into a jerk could have also been explored. These are of course only my own musings, and despite them, this film is one of the funniest things I have seen in a very long time. Bravo, Mr Smith!