Tony Movie Review

Billed as a week in the life of a London serial killer, this film shows lots of invention in its low-budget vibe, but the script is too contrived and the performances too cartoonish for it to spring to life.

Tony (Ferdinando) is a lonely guy who feels like he's constantly being assaulted verbally and physically for looking at the wrong people the wrong way. It seems that everyone is taking advantage of him, including a couple of junkies (Russo and Pope), a thug (Grover) in a pub, a moronic job centre worker (Maskell), a hooker (Flack)--everyone he meets, really. And it only gets worse when he brings a guy (Camporese) home from a gay bar, explaining away the smell of rotting bodies as a problem with the drains.

The implication here is that Tony's repressed homosexual longings have driven him to become an opportunistic psychotic lashing out at society. He's not actually a serial killer at all, despite the Jeffrey Dahmer-like glimpses of dead bodies arranged on his sofa or bed. And the way sexuality is depicted in this film should be offensive even to non-gays, as it suggests that off-centre sexuality equals murderous impulses.

Tony reads straight porn, goes to gay bars and visits a female prostitute (although his limited cashflow leaves him asking, "How much for a cuddle?").

These disjointed facts could make for a fascinating character study, but filmmaker Johnson seems happy to wallow in something he sees as filthy. And Ferdinando plays Tony as an inconsistent nerd: awkward and goofy, with a nasal voice, greasy hair and slacker lifestyle, but far too much intelligence in his eyes. Around him, the cast members deliver theatre-style performances that feel false on-camera.

This lack of subtlety makes it impossible to engage with the film. We never feel anything for Tony, as he's essentially just an inarticulate creep with murderous impulses. That said, Johnson shoots and edits the film with considerable skill, and stirs in some superb black-comedy touches while vividly portraying life on a soulless housing estate. On the other hand, one scene involves a downstairs neighbour (Murdock) coming to Tony's door in need of a plaster and then inviting him to Sunday lunch. In a violent estate? Not likely.

Cast & Crew

Director : Gerard Johnson

Producer : Dan McCulloch

Starring : Peter Ferdinando, Ricky Grover, Lorenzo Camporese, , George Russo, Francis Pope, Lucy Flack, Kerryann White


Comments

Tony Rating

" Grim "

Rating: 18, 2009

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