Apart from Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky Russia isn’t really known for its contributions to the world of film. There’s the occasional film that gets noticed such as Night Shift or Attraction, but that’s it. It’s too early to tell if writer/director Kirill Sokolov will make a name for himself, but his debut feature Why Don’t You Just Die! Has certainly gotten noticed.
Matvey (Aleksander Kuznetsov) loves Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde). She’s an aspiring actress who wants her father Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) dead. He’s a corrupt cop with an equally crooked partner Yevgenich (Mikhail Gorevoy, Die Another Day) who obsesses over a large sum of money they were allegedly cheated out of. So the love-struck Matyey turns up at Andrey’s door, ready to kill him with a hammer for his alleged abuses against his daughter. Olya’s mother (Elena Shevchenko) offers him tea.
From here Why Don’t You Just Die! turns into a constantly escalating and cartoonishly bloody brawl. One that takes its toll not only on the participants but on the small Moscow apartment most of the film is set in. The violence is only interrupted by Pulp Fiction type detours in the timeline filling us in on the backstory and manipulations that got us here.
The intersecting background stories while interesting can’t match the bouts of violent action. They do a good enough job of telling the characters stories and setting the last act up. But they needed to be more compelling to hold their own. But I suspect they weren’t meant to be much more than mildly entertaining information drops.
Because the main selling point of Why Don’t You Just Die! Is its absurdly over-the-top violence. At times it resembles The Three Stooges directed by Sam Peckinpah. Fists, hammers, power tools and firearms all come into play here. The characters take the kind of abuse that would be unbelievable even in a WWE no DQ match and keep trying to kill each other.
Though the plot is a bit thin there’s a lot to enjoy in Why Don’t You Just Die! Most of it involving violence, dark humour or both. There’s not really a lot else I can tell you except sit back and enjoy what may be the crime film equivalent of The Evil Dead.
Arrow Video had planned an April 10th theatrical release for Why Don’t You Just Die! in several cities in the US and UK. However, due to COVID-19, they’re releasing it to digital on April 20th. You can check out its Russian language Facebook page while you wait.