Director: Dominic Laurence James
Screenplay: Domenico Salvaggio, Nick Mead
Cast: Caterina Murino, Elias Koteas, Emily Hampshire, John Pyper-Ferguson, Stephen McHattie
Producers: Don Carmody
Print Source: Remstar
Life’s a bitch and then you die. But sometimes it takes a while. Now and then, the most miserable individuals do not want to wait for Death’s visit. Some choose to take their own lives, out of loathing, sorrow or despair for their pitful existences, without thinking twice about what’s next for both themselves and their entourage. According to the Bible, suicide victims are guilty of a grave sin, denying them access to heaven.
Six bullets in a revolver. Six faces on a die. Six people chose to kill themselves. They all wake up, inexplicably locked up in what looks like a jail cell. They all seem to have been kidnapped by some kind of Christ look-alike (John Pyper-Ferguson), who may want to save them, in some mystical way. Are they worthy of a second chance? Only the die has the answer. They are numbered in order, waiting for their ritualistic “trial.” It won’t be pretty, because their redemptions involve firearms, syringes and all sorts of deadly things. And a black little die. See the double entendre? Faith or Fate, this is the question. Some kind of sick, clever and slick Russian roulette game is going on.
For some, Elias Koteas is Casey Jones, the funky, hockey-mask-wearing thug from the TMNT movies. For many, Koteas is one of the busiest and best Montreal-bred actors, having worked under the greatest directors including Scorsese, Fincher and Cronenberg. In this thriller, Koteas plays a former police officer haunted by dark memories, painfully trying to win back his life with everything he’s got — or had — while his ex-colleague (CASINO ROYALE’s Caterina Murino) is looking for clues to solve these mysterious disappearances. Also offering a vibrant performance is a very believable Emily Hampshire (Jacob Tierney’s GOOD NEIGHBOURS and THE TROTSKY) as a shattered compulsive gambler. Plus, in the opening scene, Stephen McHattie (Nova Scotia’s pride, seen notably in WATCHMEN and PONTYPOOL) has a shocking cameo that perfectly sets the tone: uncompromising, bleak, shady, life-changing. Rounded by a gorgeous cinematography and spot-on locations, this ingenious reinvention of a worn-out formula is surprisingly SAW-phisticated (that’s a compliment). Definitely more on the SE7EN side, without any superfluous gore, torture or silly booby-traps. Take your chances on this one — this DIE is worth rolling.