This review was originally published on August 17, 2012…
You don’t want to be Benji (Graham Jenkins). As bad as his drug addiction is, things in his life don’t really turn to shit until a simple kidnapping job he does for the enigmatic Mr. Kent (Brian Shaw) ends up in the death of a teenage boy. As the sole suspect, Benji goes on the run with the tainted $50K he “earned” by luring the boy into a van, eventually settling down and finding work in a kitchen (because the money might be traceable, and is therefore as useless as Benji is).
After relaxing and working through some father figure issues, Benji befriends cook Chuck (Louie Lawless). Of course, if you thought Benji had suspect taste in friends before, Chuck lowers the bar when, after Benji confesses about the kidnapping and the money, Chuck beats the shit out of Benji and runs off with the money. From there, things only get darker and more horrible as Benji’s once, though brief, dream of eventual redemption turns to outright hatred and revenge. Drugs are consumed, people die and no one smiles. Well, some smile, but usually right before something truly awful happens to them.
F*ckload of Scotch Tape is a bleak, dark and mostly unrelenting experience. There are no heroes in this film, and no matter how much you may hope for a happy ending, one will not be forthcoming. The tale of Benji gets more and more painful as he staggers deeper into the pit, and even the musical numbers do little to sooth the soul.
Yeah, that’s right, musical numbers. As the film goes along, Benji lip syncs to original music by musician Kevin Quain, and the result, at first, is slightly off-putting but eventually they become an opportunity for the audience to breath something other than the stink surrounding Benji’s life for a few seconds. Which is not to say the music is cheerful, it just presents a more melodious perspective on the grime and despair the rest of the film wallows in.
To highlight a positive, one of the real pluses of the film overall, despite its harsh subject matter and brutal commitment to telling the story of a guy essentially burying himself under a pile of his own shit, is the way the film looks. The cinematography is beautiful (why does the ugly have to look so damn good in this film!?!) and the edit mixes in some nice tricks to keep the energy of the film up even as your mood sours. It’s got style, is what I’m getting at here. Things do start to feel a bit repetitious by the end of the film (again, no surprises, Benji’s life is shitty and will stay shitty), but it doesn’t linger on too much beyond its welcome.
In the end, F*ckload of Scotch Tape is the cinematic equivalent of a repeated kick to the nuts with just enough of a break here and there to give you some hope that maybe, just maybe, the next kick won’t come. But that next kick always comes, and it’s not going to stop. This is not an easy flick to experience, and I don’t know if the word “enjoy” is the right one to use, even though I can’t dismiss the merits of the film even if it made me feel like shit. Stinky, watery shit. Fuck, you’re going to kick me in the nuts again, aren’t you?
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