Sweetie, You Won't Believe It

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
"If you're a fan of Three Stooges-style silent slapstick but wish it came with a lot more gore, then, Sweetie, you won't believe what a treat you are in for"

If you're a fan of Three Stooges-style silent slapstick but wish it came with a lot more gore, then, Sweetie, you won't believe what a treat you are in for with the latest from Kazakhstani director Yernar Nurgaliyev, which mixes physical comedy with a spring break vibe and throws in a handful of western and gangster elements for good measure. The result, while not always entirely successful, is most certainly never boring.

At its heart is the hapless and henpecked Dastan (Daniar Alshinov) - the gender definitions throughout the film are as broad as the comedy -  who despite his heavily pregnant wife Zhanna's  (Asel Kaliyeva) hectoring is determined to spend a day fishing with his buddies Arman (Azamat Marklenov) and Murat (Erlan Primbetov). The sensibilities of the superstitious Arman are clear from the off, given that he has a load of faulty blow-up sex dolls in the back of his van, while Murat is a community cop.

Copy picture

The first hints of potential Delilverance-style horror start to poke through the surface of the laughs at a gas station but it's once the trio make it to the river bank that things take a real turn after a chance encounter with gang boss Kuka (Alamat Sakatov) and his trio of henchmen Kissyk (Yerkubulan Daiyrov), Peetok (Rustem Zhaniyamanov), and a third man who has a good line in dance moves but faints at the sight of blood. That's not forgetting the silent one-eyed psychopath (Dulgya Akmolda)  who's out to kill them all as an act of vengeance.

What follows is carefully orchestrated mayhem that builds on the comedic energy of each of the trios, aided by an energetic pop-driven score, while throwing in plenty of bloody violence courtesy of the silent avenging angel and a couple of other characters a chaotic wild cards. Nurgaliyev builds the mood as the body count mounts until his Fargo and far out vibe come together in glorious gory harmony during a shack sequence. And if Nurgaliyev's portrayal of Zhanna is one note, he wastes no opportunity to poke fun at all the men's ideas of masculinity, perhaps encapsulated by Murat in the phrase: "Man up!... Run for it!" Don't be fooled by its initially scattergun feel, Nurgaliyev gets a surprising amount on target.

Reviewed on: 10 Aug 2021
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Sweetie, You Won't Believe It packshot
It all starts off quite trivially, with a young married couple’s quarrel. The husband decides to get away with two friends on a fishing trip but mysterious events await them.

Director: Yernar Nurgaliyev

Writer: Zhandos Aibassov, Yernar Nurgaliyev, Daniyar Soltanbayev, Il'yas Toleu, Anuar Turizhigitov, Alisher Utev

Year: 2020

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: Kazakhstan


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