Director: Matt O’Mahoney
Writer: Matt O’Mahoney
Cast: Adam Boys, Kasey Ryne Mazak, Ken Tsui, Gabrielle Giraud, Dwayne Bryshun, Steve Thackray
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]
Travis (Adam Boys) draws moderately successful cartoons that have mainly one goal: offend everyone who comes into contact with them. When he makes one cartoon about mob boss Leonard Fong (Kasey Ryne Mazak), he might have pissed off the wrong person: Fong kidnaps Travis and removes his drawing hand as punishment. But surprisingly that is not the last time his hand gets Travis into trouble. When shortly afterwards the hand turns up on his doorstep with a mind of its own and a will for revenge, things really spiral out of control.
Bloody Knuckles wants to argue about freedom of speech, but unfortunately does so from the worst possible perspective: that of an entitled white guy who is saddened that he can’t insult everybody at the same time.
Look, I’m not saying that the cutting off of hands is a correct punishment for drawing a comic, no matter how offensive it is and the quality of the comic is certainly not the issue. Draw your racially loaded rape jokes all you want. But when you set out to offend people, don’t be surprised when they actually are offended. Freedom of speech, at least the USAmerican version, means that there won’t be any governmental recriminations for whatever vile bullshit you say, not that people can’t call you out on your shit or that they can’t find what you’re saying shitty. When people are offended, they don’t have to keep quiet and swallow the offence, even though it definitely shouldn’t end in violence.
And it’s always the same group of people who make the case for free speech by being as offensive as they possibly can and then point at anyone who dares to say that they are offended and whine: young, white, privileged men, a group that gets an inordinate amount of attention and who get to say most of what they want without any recriminations. Of course, there are tragic cases like the Charlie Hebdo attack, where these people really are unjustly, unrightfully and immorally punished for drawing and/or writing things, but most of the time that doesn’t happen.
So you have this movie – a film that doesn’t really examine the racism (of course the mob had to be of a different ethnicity and that Travis has an Asian friend/brother doesn’t alleviate the racism that is otherwise apparent), the homphobia (of course the gay couple in the film is an absolute caricature: not only gay but has kinky sex in leather and all of that is played for a joke) or the sexism (of course there are barely any women in the film at all – we get the love interest, who looks starry eyed at Travis, and a girlfriend) it features, but rather takes refuge in a faux-progressivism that only works when you see it from the perspective of a straight, cis, white, privileged man.
But even apart from the politics, this film really didn’t charm me. It’s boring and has some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen on screen. And when neither politics nor entertainment work in a film’s favor, it’s best forgotten.