There is a film festival happening in my hometown currently, being put on by the North of Superior Film Association and I purchased a 6-pack of tickets to go see some movies! Unfortunately, I found that they’re all very close together in times and some overlap, so it’s impossible to go see them all… but nonetheless, my first watch of the festival was this film: Hello, Destroyer.
Hello, Destroyer is directed and written by Kevan Funk, who has previously written and directed numerous shorts, but no feature films. It is sort of, but not really, but also kind of, building upon his previous short entitled Destroyer. Going in, I knew next to nothing about the film – I knew the plot synopsis and that was it. “A young hockey player deals with the consequences of hockey violence after he critically injures another player during a game.” So naturally, I think hockey = action = bustling film that doesn’t stop! Boy, was I wrong.
For the first half-hour or so, I was pretty into it. I cared about the characters, I was interested in the story, I wanted to know what would happen in the coming moments. I did notice right from the get-go that there were a lot of silent moments with nothing happening. Not just like, they idled a tiny bit too long to keep you on edge and feeling uncomfortable. Like, they had scenes that were just the main character, Tyson, staring at something and not emoting, not doing anything, for a solid 1-2 minutes at a time. They had shots of walls. Not only were the cinematography choices strange and unsettling, they made the movie feel like it was at least an hour too long. You could tell that the director had more experience with short films and that’s the format he was used to, because the story and the ambling plot felt like it was more suited to being a short film.
I was straight up bored. I felt, in those hanging moments, like this was wasted screen time. They could be showing us something, but instead there seemed to be nothing to show so they filled up those moments with… nothing. Filler. I was reading up on the reviews of this film afterwards and learned of things that were supposed to be metaphors, but I didn’t catch that and I didn’t think they were very clever or strong or compelling after learning that they were there, either.
All-in-all, Hello, Destroyer felt like a film that bit off more than it could chew. It felt like it was trying to be something a lot bigger than it was and that was it’s eventual downfall. It wasn’t a horrible movie by any means… I just felt that it lacked spirit and it could have been a lot more, especially had they given it’s lead, Jared Abrahamson, more to work with.
I wanted to see Studio Ghibli’s The Red Turtle, but we were hungry and there was only a half hour delay between this film and the next, so we opted to skip it for now. Tonight, we are going to see A Man Called Ove, which I’m really excited for!