In Driven to Kill… Again, serial killer Antun (Bill Lee Loscalzo) is working his way slowly through a small town by first enticing his victims to smoke out with him before murdering them in various ways. Then he disguises their death to look like accidents or suicides, and moves on to the next victim. Unfortunately for Antun, his latest crew of victims includes Rocco (Rocco), an annoying musician who is slowly becoming Antun’s Waterloo. Will Antun finish Rocco off, or will Rocco catch wise and turn the tables?
Filmmaker Rocco Iannacchino (who prefers to go professionally by the name of “Rocco”) wrote, directed, edited, produced, composed and starred in Driven to Kill… Again. He was also in charge of casting, wardrobe, set design, makeup, props, stunt blocking and special effects, while also taking the title of director of cinematography and handling some lighting duties. In other words, if this film is a great success, look to Rocco. If it’s horrible, look to Rocco. I’m surprised it wasn’t just named Killing Rocco.
Unfortunately, this is not a case where I come to praise Rocco for all he accomplished with his film. I’ll admit I respect, to a certain extent, his decision to do practically everything, or perhaps it was a necessity (it often is in low budget filmmaking), but this is a film that could’ve used someone else handling various aspects of the production, particularly when it comes to editing… and also writing and probably directing… but let’s focus on the editing right now.
To say that this is a film that lingers is to seriously understate its lack of editorial flow. This film is a bloated mess of an edit that, at almost two hours long (roughly ten minutes of which are end credits), is unnecessarily exhausting. Often scenes seem to be running right up to the actor breaking character, with a brief moment of said break included.
But it’s not like it’s just a simple case of scenes being too long where you could solve the problem by tightening up the edit, however; sequences rarely flow smoothly into or among each other. One lengthy sequence involving another killer (Sam Rappold) has little-to-no connection to the other characters and seems to exist solely because it was filmed, and it seemed like a good idea on the page.
The film is also painfully repetitious; there’s only so many times you can hear a guy ask someone if they “want a smoke,” watch them enjoy some poisoned weed and then wait for them to get murdered. Except Rocco. Attempts to take out Rocco turn the film into a bizarre, weed-addled, Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner-style endeavor.
So did I enjoy anything about the film, or was it a complete wash? Frankly, it’s pretty bad, but I did find enjoyment in some of the bold visual composition choices the film makes (the first few times it makes them, but this film overdoes everything). I also liked the active camerawork and usage of different lens and depth of field to sometimes achieve a wavy or shimmery effect.
Of course, at the same time, the film does seem to enjoy the severely uncomfortable close-up too much, and it also meanders in the land of soft focus more than is welcome. Really, the film is a cinematic embodiment of the Rocco character, which is to say that it is annoying and I often wanted it to just end. You’re not supposed to sympathize with a murderer like Antun, but at a certain point you wish he’d have taken out Rocco so someone else could be the main focus.
That said, I am a fan of absurdity, and there’s quite a bit of it mixed in, whether it be Rocco’s bike-riding musical montage early on or even his disturbingly inspired way of defending himself near the end of the film. Again, though, just as there were elements to the visuals that worked, those same elements eventually became a hindrance.
In this case, the absurdity becomes an issue in moments such as the dinner scene, where Rocco starts to get a handjob, through his pants, from a nun while the two are sitting next to Rocco’s wife and daughter. And not like some clandestine, under-the-table, hope-we-don’t-get-caught moment; they start talking about it while it’s going on.
Bill Lee Loscalzo is sufficiently unsettling as Antun and, as far as the cast goes, is easily the bright spot. His character isn’t all that developed, however, so we never really get why he’s going around smoking out people and then killing them beyond, hey, he’s the killer, but that’s not the actor’s fault. He does the disturbing best with what he’s given.
Driven to Kill… Again is a mess, but it does have a moment or two of charm. Just not two hours worth of charm (or arguably five minutes worth). I would’ve loved for this to be an example of a filmmaker wearing all the production hats and creating something other filmmakers can aspire to, but unfortunately this turned out to be an example in the other direction, showing how important it is to have other, skilled, creative collaborators involved with the production.
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