I get it. Sometimes as critics, we may take the art of filmmaking way little too seriously. Some filmmakers have something to say. Others have a grand vision of a story to tell. As film snobs, our job is too extract the deeper meanings of the filmmaker’s art. But not all filmmakers try to please the critics. In the case of Hot Knives, writer/director Peter Monet just wants to make a film, or he owes his friends a lot of money. “Tell you what, how about you be in my movie and we’ll call it square?”
Hot Knives is about a guy named Stan (Phil Caracas) who lives in Montreal, Quebec. Stan is a middle-aged slacker who hangs out with friends, listens to local rock bands, and gets high on pot and other hallucinogenics.
Stan is a guy in need of a plot…I mean, direction in life. He finds it when his hot neighbor, played by Gabriela Svoboda, loses her dog. Stan’s quest to find the pooch leads him from party to party and from one social situation to the next including a stoner BBQ, a local blues bar, and a hacky-sack circle. Transitions from one situation to the next show Stan walking while being accompanied by a sort of beach rock score. The music is good with a catchy beat, and there’s a lot of it.
“Stan is a middle-aged slacker who hangs out with friends, listens to local rock bands, and gets high on pot…”
Things are not easy for Stan considering his hot neighbor is married to the not-so-hot “Don” of the neighborhood. His search ultimately leads him to the inevitable trip to Toronto, thanks to a mushroom-induced vision.
There a certain level of charm to Hot Knives, just not enough to recommend it. It was clear to me that director Monet just wanted to make a movie with his friends, using music from his friends, and keep the stakes really low. I definitely got the feeling this film was made primarily for those who made the film and not me, the outsider critic.
The acting is sub-par, but they are real people with more important things in life besides acting lessons. Musical sequences are tolerable but feel like a band showcase than a pertinent part of the film. There are a few visual effects that are cheap and cheesy. The whole film feels like a low-budget amateur version of the Monkees.
Ultimately, making a movie should be fun, and Monet and Caracas are having fun. Their own kind of fun. I appreciate Monet’s efforts in putting this film together. He made it for his community, and this outsider had a tolerable time watching it. But let’s face it, it’s a really bad movie.
Hot Knives (2018) Directed by Peter Monet. Written by Phil Caracas and Peter Monet. Starring Phil Caracas, Gabriela Svoboda, and John N.E. Hill.
3 out of 10 stars