Follow an odd couple – con artist Kook Packard (Peter Dobson) and corrupt vice cop Mickey Rady (Kevin Interdonato) – as they bring justice to the streets of Los Angeles outside the confines of the law in Marie-Grete Heinemann’s Dirty Dead Con Men.
Dirty Dead Con Men brings you into the minds of the Tarantinoesque dysfunctional buddies as they face the dirty consequences of their cons. They are not going to let criminals get away with murder and will seek to punish them in their own unique way. The story is told in broken pieces as the plot takes several twists. Through its neo-noir aesthetic and irreverent narration from the central pair, the audience are treated to a uniquely gritty perspective.
The film opens with a mysterious interrogation of the con artist and then jumps back in time as the audience is invited into the heads of both the con artist and corrupt cop. This is the highlight of the film as the audience get to know the characters leading to some darkly-comic belly laughs, especially from the hard-nosed Kevin Interdonato as his inner voice exclaims enjoyment after punishing an irritating colleague.
The film does constantly surprise, going into unexpected directions, but as the rushed plot struggles to develop, and the narration/interaction of the central pair diminishes, so does the film. The achievement from a minuscule budget of £80,000 is impressive, but there is a turning point in the film where the budget becomes visible. A house party shoot-out leaves a lot to be desired in tension and thrills and after this the plot races by to some disappointing conclusions. An admirable failure with potential is always harder to take than a film without ambition or care. The film is many things, but never bereft of ambition.
The central couple are compelling and when they are together the delivery, tone, humour and writing is worthy of the Tarantino tag. This is a creative feat that blends darkly comic voice-over with gritty realism, but too many rushed developments means it never lives up to its early promise. There is one surprise that the film saves for the very end that almost saves the final third.
The supporting cast struggle to live up to the high standard set from the leading pair with Kevin Interdonato building on his excellent performance in Bad Frank with a stellar turn here. Louis Mandylor manages to standout alongside the leads as the interrogating Agent Daniels, however the film does suffer from his late re-introduction after a strong opening scene. The film was developed from a pilot into a feature length film and perhaps this would work better as a mini series as too many ideas are rammed into the final third.
Writer/director Marie-Grete Henemann has created two fascinating characters, enhanced by two impressive performances from Peter Dobson and Interdonato, who manage to plunge the audience into an unpredictable world of corruption and violence with a wry smile.
Written by Lyndon Wells
Directed by: Marie-Grete Heinemann
Written by: Marie-Grete Heinemann, Kevin Interdonato
Starring: Peter Dobson, Kevin Interdonato, Claudia Christian
Dirty Dead Con Men was released in the USA on October 31.