“Disposal” (Jason Edwin Lenz) gives you the impression that it was easy to make. It’s shot in black and white, is just under an hour long, and only has three principal cast members (and one of them plays three characters). Lenz’s dark comedy follows two brothers Richard (Keith Rikli) and Mike (Josh Roth) as they bury a dead body. Richard and Mike share a character dynamic reminiscent of Raymond and Charlie of “Rain Man” (Barry Levinson, 1988) as well as Lennie and George from John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. Richard is a bit slow and Mike constantly has to remind him what to do.
Lenz throws in a twist into the plot in reference to the dead man. He isn’t just any deceased person. His name is Greg Croder. He was a classmate of Mike’s and Richard’s best friend. He was also killed by Richard. How does he end up dead? The question is never explicitly answered. The film begins with the camera tilted on its right side. A man wearing a bright yellow shirt and dark blue plaid pants is fidgeting in the background. There’s a puddle of blood directly in front of the camera and a stream of the red liquid continues to squirt onto the counter from the right of the frame. The remainder of this scene with Richard and the dying man is accompanied by thumping noises, which represent the man’s heartbeat. The moment he finally inhales and exhales for the last time, the image turns to black and white.
Within the next couple of scenes, you realize that the camera is permanently taking on the point-of-view of dead Greg. Whenever Greg is lifted, shifted, dropped, and eventually beheaded, you feel like you’re a part of the movie, a part of Greg. The line between you as a viewer and you as a link to the camera (dead man) frequently bends. For instance, when Richard and Mike load Greg’s body into what is supposedly the trunk, you’ll think you’re in there too. The screen is black. There’s only audio in the form of the radio and Richard and Mike talking. At this point, you’re back to being a viewer. Unable to see anything, you’re forced to use the sounds to guide your eyes, to imagine what is happening as a cop pulls over the two brothers.
When there is light again, you realize that Greg is actually under a blanket in the backseat. The camera, and subsequently you the viewer, can see the Irish cop (Troy Anderson) perfectly well, but he doesn’t see the dead body. It makes you wonder exactly what position Greg is in to go unnoticed by the officer. The cop isn’t the first person to “interfere” with Richard and Mike’s task. A talkative bum (Anderson again) and a lost hillbilly (Anderson once more) make it difficult for the brothers to complete their mission. The body count inevitably rises.
According to the film’s website, Lenz made “Disposal” so that he could utilize it to get monetary investments for future projects. He might’ve had his sights on something bigger, but Lenz puts his heart and head into this film. Visually unique and narratively amusing, “Disposal” isn’t your typical get-rid-of-the-body movie.
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