I am generally not the type to believe that you have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy a film. I think that pretty much everyone has at least one life experience that can help them relate to almost any film out there, so it's not fair to say, "Oh, you will just HATE Speed if you've never been held hostage by Dennis Hopper on a bus and then saved by Keanu Reeves." (Don't look at me like that; I'm sure someone, somewhere has said that.) However, I think I've finally encountered a film that it might take a very specific kind of person to appreciate. So let's conduct a test, dear readers.
Your beloved pet is very ill, and it can be saved. But you have to donate one of your kidneys to do so, and it will only guarantee you another six healthy, happy months with your furry friend. Your response is:
A) Do you need both kidneys? You can have both kidneys. I don't REALLY need two kidneys, right?
B) Is this a joke? It's just a animal.
If your answer to the above question was B, you may now close out this window and go about your day. See you later, darklings!
If you answered A, join me as I introduce you to the insanity that is Revenge for Jolly! (The exclamation point is theirs, and I will not be using it again henceforth.)
The Plot: After his beloved little dog Jolly is murdered, Harry enlists the help of his cousin Cecil to hunt down the killer and make them pay. That's really it. The entirety of the film is a road trip to find Jolly's murderer, littered with body after body of anyone who even tries to get in their way.
Now, I don't believe in the death penalty, and I won't kill a spider regardless of where I find it in my home, but if someone so much as laid one pinkie on my dogs in malice, I would rip off their arms and then beat them to death with them. If you share this sentiment, you will appreciate Harry's torment over the loss of the only creature in his life that brings him any joy. Even when the brutality has reached levels that would make Tarantino blush (mostly because Tarantino WISHES he was this original, and not a talentless hack), I found myself shrugging and saying, "Eh, but they aided and abetted in the death of his dog. So... meh. Enjoy that gutshot, Elijah Wood."
One of the elements I found so fascinating about Revenge for Jolly wasn't just the violence, but also the cast involved in bringing it to the screen. This film features a veritable treasure trove of indie and comedy all-stars: Oscar Isaac, Kristen Wiig, Bobby Moynihan, Adam Brody, Ryan Phillipe, Elijah Wood, Garrett Dillahunt, Amy Seimetz, Kevin Corrigan, Gillian Jacobs... I'm not entirely sure how this movie seems to have snuck under the radar. Starring and written by Brian Petsos, who is kind of an under the radar talent himself, Revenge for Jolly is the kind of movie I can see people talking about in ten years, even if it takes people that long to appreciate how strange and exceptional it is.
Bonus Points: If you thought the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones was a little too touchy-feely, you will most definitely enjoy the wedding reception scene in Revenge for Jolly.
I feel like it's necessary to reiterate again, this film reminded me so much of the best of Tarantino, without featuring any of the hokey, stolen, self-plagiarizing bullcrap that QT's films are so famous for. If you enjoy watching two men debate the merits of Mexican food while one bleeds from the leg and the other bleeds from a gaping hole in his hand, then you will love this film. I didn't think I would, but I did. I really did.
It helped that if someone murdered my dog, there wouldn't be a knife stabby enough to express my rage.