Why Don’t You Just Die!
by Hope Madden
Given that 75% of writer/director Kirill Sokolov’s Why Don’t You Just Die! takes place in a single apartment—one room of that apartment, really—you might be surprised to learn that it’s an action film.
It’s pretty heavy on the action, actually, amplified by inspired framing, kinetic cinematography, sometimes hilarious but always eye-popping choreography, and blood.
Just a shit ton of blood.
This movie is a hoot!
And, yes, it is Russian, so there will be some reading. Not a lot, honestly, and Sokolov’s grasp of visual language is so firm that you really would not have to read a single word to understand every nuance of the film.
Scrappy thug Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) waits outside an apartment door, wary to ring the bell. Behind his back he hides a hammer, tightly gripped. When the door opens, the imposing Andrei (Vitaliy Khaev) looms. Suspicious, big, bald, effortlessly alpha (just ask the neighbor’s yipping dog), he eyes Matvei.
Matvei eyes back.
Things move inside.
Sokolov sets up a raucous mystery. Why is Matvei here? What does Andrei’s daughter have to do with it? Why isn’t Natasha in the country? How can Yevgenich help?
Does every single one of these people have reason to want Andrei dead?
The answer to the last one is yes.
As these characters limp into and out of the apartment (or don’t), Sokolov helps you keep track by virtue of theme music. Each character has his or her own. The quiet, brooding Matvei’s music, for instance, soars like a Morricone Western theme.
But is he a black hat or a white?
With a spare script, visual wonder and energy to burn, Why Don’t You Just Die! promises to snatch your attention like a duffle bag of cash and hang on until exactly enough blood is spilled.
That’s a lot.