Thursday, April 21, 2016

3 Short Paragraphs: He Never Died

2015, Jason Krawczyk (The Briefcase) -- Netflix

Henry Rollins in an indie movie shot in Toronto is exactly how you should do an indie movie; it is smart, well shot, rough around the edges but with total commitment from all involved. He Never Died is a genre movie that doesn't treat itself as genre, more a dark comedic crime movie with genre breeding. Henry Rollins plays Jack, a man with a solitary routine, a diminished sense of humanity and a dark past. They always have a dark past. Diminished sense of humanity? Well, at first he feels like he might be on the spectrum, in the muted way he interacts with people, but then you realize, he could interact normally, he just doesn't want to. He really just wants to be left alone. You would probably get way that after a few thousand years too.

Too spoilery?  Did you read the title of the movie? Through a confluence of events, his sedentary life of diners and bingo is interrupted by criminals and a daughter. Jack must again wake up to the world, but he knows that can be dangerous for the world. You see, Jack's been around a long time. Well, since the beginning. He was in the Bible. Despite the cover, and the scars on his back, he's not an angel. He's Caine, but the reveal is not really the point. The point is that he is immortal, has a bad temper (which he has worked hard to contain, until things happen) and he requires blood/flesh to stay ... sated. Yes, he's the vampire analog; didn't hurt that he was in Wallachia way back when doing bad things.

The fun thing about this movie is how people, including Rollins himself, react to his immortality. People freak out, but still take it in stride. Rough, tiring lower middle-class lives in nameless American cities (well, a not very well hidden Toronto) can make you blasé. Jack was relying on that to give himself a few years to recover from the trauma in his previous life. No, not the immortal Biblical villain life, just the one a few years ago where he was a bouncer at a bar owned by a criminal. When life is measured in thousands of years, events are truncated. Each chunk is going to come to an end for him, either when someone notices or some events force it. And Jack is tired of it, thus the bingo. You can see that tired look in Rollins eyes. He sells it.

Great movie!