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I knew I would be watching this the moment I first heard The Duck was working behind, not only in front of, the camera. Regardless of whether or not it was going to turn out incredible, it was obvious that it was going to be interesting to see. He throws himself head first into not only a fresh project, but also a different type, sometimes even switching mediums, every time he completes one, with few exceptions. Stand-up, radio, music(singing as well as rapping), a TV series, an episodic Christmas calendar, shows, acting and writing. While not everything he touches turns into the purest gold, the man is clearly multi-talented, and highly creative. I didn't go into this expecting it to be perfect. My summary refers to this as his directorial debut as well as how the film opens. It has a nice, strong beginning, that sets the tone well, if that doesn't last throughout the whole thing. There are points where Matthesen didn't seem to dare take the full step, and go for being serious(however, there are places where it was critical that it was, and he nailed it), so he injects humor when there shouldn't be. This is immensely funny, almost every single time it sets out to be. It hardly ever tries too hard. He uses his anger and the rants we know and love, his trademark. The story-telling is fairly solid. We can forgive the single use of a well-known, old crutch for exposition. It helps that this does communicate well. The problem lies in what it is putting forth. It's just thin, I'm sorry. The universe of this movie is an oversimplified version of the real world, in which only our lead is a negative, and everyone else is positive, especially before they have contact with him. I'm not certain he intended it to come off entirely that way, nevertheless, that is what we have here. The moral is amiable, yes... and also preachy. It reveals a naiveté, that I think lies in the fact that he has not had that difficult time of being successful. It's not unlike Robert Rodriguez... neither set out to wow audiences the first time, and now they forget that it does not go that well for everyone. Chances are necessary to win, that doesn't mean that every one that is taken goes well. This is more than a tad black and white... literally. And the symbolism is... I understand, he did not want to risk viewers not "getting it", still... he goes above and beyond, leaving no way to misinterpret. I believe he intended to inspire further thought, he may have not realized that the better way to do that is to not serve the answers on a platter. There is one particular scene that goes against the logic of the rest of it, and is unmistakably there because he wanted it there. I must admit that one of the main elements of this surprised me, and I refuse to divulge it to anyone who does not already know. There is a twist that I did not see coming, and it was effective. The ending is excessive. This is hilarious when at its best, and utilizes several types of comedy, and well. Situational, cleverness, wit, etc. Anders tries to joke with the "happy" stuff to not feel lame, the way he has before, and it's... not great. The acting is marvelous, basically all of the performances(with the possible exception of the kid, what else is new). They play off each other well. The cast is well-chosen, and the cameos cool. There is genuine tension and drama in this. The language is harsh, if not frequent. This has disturbing thematic material, and is not for children. I recommend this to his fans. Be careful not to go solely for the laughs, or you may find yourself somewhat disappointed. Go with an open mind, and you may like it, especially if you deploy your anti-pretentiousness-filter. 7/10
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