When it was first published in 1996, Andrey Kurkov’s "A matter of death and life" was a game changer in the novelistic world; the story of Tolya, a man having a hard life in post soviet Ukraine, trying to make the most out of his existence. And when we say the most we mean an impeccable and (why not?) artistic death. Tolya hires a hitman to assassinate him in a café in order to make his death spectacular. And the situation is almost the same here in Derek Frey’s short movie 'Kill The Engine'. Three friends are trying to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning, but their plan falls apart when the engine of the car they are into breaks apart. What can they do next? Well, the engine needs a fix-up, and this is exactly what they will do… more or less!
We must admit that it has been a while since we’ve had such a good and funny comedy short in our festival, and 'Kill the Engine' made the entire wait worthwhile. The three main characters are amazingly funny even though the main theme is not. The dialogue is insane you literally cannot watch this short without bursting into laughter. The cinematography is really neat, having at the same time some Wes Anderson influences that are easy to spot, giving this short great cinematic effect.
The ending of Derek Frey's film is priceless – after multiple possibilities to make the engine running again, the three men work it out and succeed. The engine is purring like a cat, the men are hugging each other and are insanely happy…and they seemed they forgot something! If Jerome K. Jerome lived today and would have watched this movie he would have been jealous. This type of comedic discourse and narrative is always a good sign that this world is going places.
Written by Vlad A. G