The Suicide Theory


Reviewed by: Neil Mitchell

The Suicide Theory
"The Suicide Theory satisfyingly trashed my somewhat jaded pre-conceptions."

Never has the phrase "You're lucky to be alive" been uttered with so much gallows humour and philosophical weight attached to it as it is in director Dru Brown's engrossing Aussie neo-noir drama, The Suicide Theory. Heartbroken Percival (Leon Cain), whose personal demons have crushed his spirit, wants to die but after miraculously and for him, frustratingly, surviving several suicide attempts he decides to enlist the help of crazed hitman Steven Ray (Steve Mouzakis) to help him fulfil his morbid desire. In keeping with both Percival's apparently cursed life and Steven Ray's chaotic day-to-day existence, this seemingly simple job for the hitman proves to be anything but. This basic narrative set-up, initially unfolding as a black comedy, unexpectedly transforms into a multi-layered tale of damaged personalities, dysfunctional relationships, guilt, trauma and grief.

Tightly constructed by debutant feature writer Michael J Kospiah, The Suicide Theory satisfyingly trashed my somewhat jaded pre-conceptions; fearing as I did yet another by-the-numbers entry into the hitman movie sub-genre. This upending of my expectations is down to two factors: Kospiah’s screenplay, which adroitly combines quieter, reflective moments amid some bone-crunching violence and tail-chasing narrative twists and, secondly, the performances of the movie’s two leads. Physically apposite and playing chalk and cheese roles, Cain and Mouzakis make for an engaging pair; their respective characters at first a million miles apart in outlook and temperament, but then gradually informed by each other's worldview until an unlikely bond emerges, however dysfunctional and doomed it may be.

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As the reasons for both men’s damaged psyches are revealed in a series of revelatory flashbacks, The Suicide Theory places the idea of fate - its existence and inescapability - at its very heart. Percival and Steven Ray, the ego and the id, find their lives intertwined in ever more symbiotic fashion as this blood-stained tale edges towards a climax as doom-laden as a film noir influenced movie should be. To reveal any more of the movie’s narrative trajectory would spoil the fun of entering into Percival and Steven Ray’s world; an environment of dimly lit interiors as murky as the emotional ones of these two broken-down men. If these wretches, beaten down by tragedy and desperate for something, anything to ease their respective pain, are ‘lucky to be alive’, then God has one Hell of a sense of humour.

Reviewed on: 23 Oct 2014
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A man hires a hitman to help him commit suicide after it seems he can't manage to take his own life.

Director: Dru Brown

Writer: Michael J Kospiah

Starring: Steve Mouzakis, Leon Cain, Joss McWilliam, Matthew Scully

Year: 2014

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: Australia


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