Revenge is a dish best served cold. And in the case of My Father Die, with a splash of blood and bullets.
This hardcore independent film doesn’t pull a single punch. Written and directed by Sean Brosnan, son of the former James Bond actor himself, this sharply visual film delivers gritty grindhouse with the lyrical flair of Terrance Malick. Beautifully crafted visuals are inhabited by racist biker bandits, hookers and online porn stars, offering a wild contrast that smashes together Michael Bay-like visuals with desperate backwoods living.
Joe Anderson stars as Asher, a deaf man who lost his hearing when he was younger. His condition was brought on by a brutal beating he took while watching his own dad (Gary Stretch) kill his older brother (Chester Rushing). The villainous patriarch chokes the life out of his own son after catching him sleeping with his woman. There are several levels of twisted mess going on here, but suffice it to say, Asher’s left pretty pissed at his pop for snuffing out the older sibling he idolized.
Years later, while living with his not very nice mamma, Asher learns his father has been released early from prison. He takes it upon himself to exact his long-wanted revenge, and dispatches his father with a shovel.
As things like this tend to do, it doesn’t quite go as expected. More bloody violence ensues.
Caught in the middle of this revenge tale is the very woman (Candace Smith) his brother was killed for having relations with, who has since had a child and developed a friendship with Asher.
Anderson carries My Father Die with a strong and vulnerable performance. Smith is both sexy and real, while Stretch is brutal in both his performance and acts of violence.
Brosnan assembled a strong cast to carrying out his macabre tale, including in a small role, John Schneider, of Dukes of Hazzard and Smallville fame. The film exposes an underbelly of ne’er do wells while painting a haunting gothic picture of the world they inhabit.
It’s easy to say this movie isn’t for everyone. It’s a jagged pill to swallow, with the melodic voiceover, harsh editing and heavily stylized visuals. But for a film that seemed to be masking a limited budget, it succeeds in being a slick revenge thriller that doesn’t shy away from the dark, bitter reality its characters embrace.