Danny. Legend. God.
by Rachel Willis
With a title like Danny. Legend. God. you might expect a movie that’s, well, legendary. Unfortunately, writer/director Yavor Petkov delivers something far more banal with his first feature film.
A film crew follows city councilor, Danny (Dimo Alexiev), for a documentary series about money laundering. However, Danny lets them know they won’t be following any kind of script; they’re making “big cinema.” The three-person team gets more than they bargained for as Danny takes them deeper into his shady world.
Danny is a big fish in a little pond, and along with his heavy, Tanko (Emil Kamenov), spends a lot of his time finding ways to impress his importance upon the film crew. Danny’s godson (Borislav Markovski) tags along for a few of his exploits, and it’s a credit to young Markovski that he’s one of the most interesting characters to watch despite having zero lines of dialogue.
But this points to the film’s biggest problem – the lead. For Danny, you need a character who is both repulsive, yet irresistible. Alexiev’s Danny is repulsive, but there is nothing about him – or the film – that compels you to watch. Too much here feels like we’re waiting for something to happen.
There are several scenes in the car that attempt to heighten the tension of being trapped with someone like Danny, but it doesn’t work. No one wants to be in the car with Danny – not the film crew nor the audience. We’re not watching a car crash, but a traffic jam.
There are a few side characters who turn up for a scene or two that help move the film along. Danny’s irritated wife, the documentary producer, and an old flame play off Alexiev with conviction. Seeing Danny from their points of view help sell him as someone dangerous.
As Danny’s more sinister nature begins to reveal itself, the documentary soundman (James Ryan Babson) becomes more uncomfortable with the things they record. He insists “we’re complicit!” but within the context of the film, it’s either an overreaction or a heavy-handed commentary on our societal tendency to sit back and watch while our politicians play fast and loose with the rules.
The movie wants us to wake up and find ourselves uncomfortable with those we put into office, but in the context of the real world, Danny isn’t nearly as disturbing as some of the actual people holding power right now.