Film Review – The Death of Dick Long (2019)

Title – The Death of Dick Long (2019)

Director – Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man)

Cast – Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Daniel Scheinert

Plot – The lives of band mates and friends Zeke (Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Hyland) are thrown into chaos, when one wild night of drinking and partying ends up in the death of their friend Richard Long (Scheinert).

“Wanna get weird?”

Review by Eddie on 22/07/2020

One part of the directing duo responsible for giving the world gassy corpse dramedy Swiss Army Man, director Daniel Scheinert has established himself as a brand of quirky and oddball in a very quick time and while his newest solo venture as a filmmaker, The Death of Dick Long isn’t quite up to the oddities of his previous effort, this pitch black comedy is still very much cut from its own cloth.

Inspired by real events, Long is best watched with as little knowledge as possible heading into it as we follow two of the year’s dumbest and most dim-witted characters in the forms of Michael Abbott Jr’s Zeke and Andre Hyland’s Earl, two band mates and friends that try to cover up and recover from the mysterious death of their friend Dick Long after a night of partying and excess.

Suffice to say that the revelations behind Long’s demise and what lead to his untimely death are some of the films best elements, shocking to say the least, but certainly the most tension riddled and well-put together piece of Schneinert’s puzzle as he creates a fairly unique southern-tinged red-beck noir.

It’s an incredibly bleak venture, not dissimilar to what the Coen Brothers have crafted before with the likes of A Single Man or Barton Fink, even if Scheinert isn’t afraid to take his tale into even darker territory than the Coen’s ever would but unlike those type of quality offerings, Long suffers badly from a lack of standout acting turns and characters that make us deeply invest in what is taking place before our eyes.

Both Zeke and Earl are highly unlikeable main characters and Abbott Jr and Hyland’s lack of charisma or chemistry often stops the film in its tracks, while seemingly intriguing supporting players like Sarah Baker’s plodding police officer Dudley or Virginia Newcomb as Zeke’s wife Lydia never get a lot to do as the small town community of these figures is thrown into a state of disbelief as the circumstances surrounding Long’s death become more apparent.

It’s a shame Scheinert wasn’t able to establish more of a strong connection with his stories inhabitants as there’s moments of a great film scattered throughout the film’s runtime but despite its jaw-dropping revelations and why would they do that moments, Long ends up being a film with half-cooked ideas and scenarios that never combine fully into a product of much note.

Final Say –

An unquestionably unique proposition, The Death of Dick Long is an initially intriguing offering that continually loses steam as it moves forward on its odd and challenging journey.

2 ½ lost wallets out of 5

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