4 stars -- Crystal Math
3.5 stars -- Johnny Sweatpants
(JSP) Tony Benson is a socially inept walking doormat who enjoys watching 80's action movies. He hasn't worked in 20 years but is hoping to land a job real soon. In the meantime he lives off the government modestly in a low income apartment complex by the Thames River. He is incapable of normal social interaction and utterly terrified of confrontation. Picture a meek forty-something skinny British guy with glasses and a mustache who speaks like Murray from Flight of the Conchords. You just know he's going to snap, the only questions are when and how.
(CM) In scene after scene, Tony doesn’t really defend himself if people push him around or become physically confrontational. When he gets called out people-watching a couple arguing quite loudly in his local pub he has nothing to say for himself and almost gets beat up. Any normal person would call the chumps out on inviting everyone into their conversation since they were screaming at each other.
On another occasion, he’s in the middle of calling a sex service from a payphone and two men push him out so they can score for drugs. Instead of telling them all where they can stick it, Tony gives one of them a ten-pound note and asks if he can follow along. After the score they hang out at Tony’s flat, where the two blokes schmooze off Tony by drinking his beer and smoking all the smack. Tony does what any host would do with guests who don’t share their score and kills one of them, keeping the other one in his closet to torture.
Other incidents arise where Tony resorts to killing people, though I can’t really say I feel sorry for ‘em. Although he can’t hold a job, cutting up body parts and dispensing of them in the Thames becomes pretty time-consuming. The ending was a pleasant surprise for me and a subtle reminder in what I love about indie movies.
(JSP) It's hard to sympathize with a character who's so hopelessly pathetic. Nevertheless I found myself rooting for Tony. He takes no joy in murder; he merely sees killing as the simplest solution to uncomfortable situation.
Tony is an interesting character study of a lonely man with no apparent family or friends to fall back on. He desperately seeks to connect with other humans but "normal" people want nothing to do with him. The only people who give him the time of day are street thugs, a prostitute and a man he meets in a nightclub who expects a one night stand. All of these acquaintances end either depressingly or deadly.