Jason (Toby Manley) and Wolf (Mark McKirdy) run Deadhead Comics in Glasgow, Scotland, a shop on the verge of going out of business if the duo can’t come up with the money to pay the landlord (Andre Vincent). After a trip to a local comic book convention fails to bring in much cash, it seems like all is lost. That is, until Jason finds a mint copy of a 1937 comic book, Electric Man #1, hidden away in one of the boxes he brought back from the con. Worth about £100,000, the comic could solve all their financial woes.
If only it were that simple. The only reason that comic book ended up in that box is because the mysterious “Mary” (Jennifer Ewing) bribed a boy to steal it and hide it from goon Jimmy (Derek Dick), just as he was about to sell it to the comic-obsessed collector, Edison Bolt (Mark McDonnell). Now Jimmy and Bolt are looking for the missing comic book, “Mary” has her own agenda, Wolf’s girlfriend Victoria (Emily Lockwood) has returned to town and Jason and Wolf are stuck in the middle of it all.
To say that David Barras’ feature film, Electric Man, gets convoluted would be an understatement. Considering how the film wraps up, and how it began, the middle is an insane labyrinth of unnecessary complications. While character motivations somewhat explain why people do things in such a difficult fashion, it also feels like, had this film kept it simple, we’d just have a clever short film and not a feature length experience.
Which, frankly, would’ve been fine. I enjoyed the humor in this one, the dialogue is well-written and the characters generally interesting enough, so I’d be on board with this even if it didn’t strain itself trying to create and complicate its own mysteries. Ultimately, those mysteries don’t matter much anyway, and they’re an excuse to spend time with these characters. Again, that tactic is fine HOWEVER here the mystery elements don’t just exist, they interrupt and distract. Over and over again.
But it’s an extremely good-looking film, with strong composition. The technical elements all around are exceptional, and I’ve got nothing bad to say about the film in that sense. The talent and skills on display here show that those involved not only know how to do their jobs, they’re really good at them.
And again, the characters are mostly entertaining, the jokes succeed more than they fail and overall it is not an unpleasant time spent with any of them. The needlessly complicated storyline is what lets this one down; I’d have preferred a more straightforward tale involving a similar vibe and tone than this sometimes distracting muddle with its double-crosses, deceits and comic book chicanery. The film just tries too hard.
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