Monday, June 27, 2011

Dot Squared

Let’s start with the title: Dot.Kill
What’s up with that? The word ‘dot’ is there, so adding the ‘.’ is both redundant and confusing. Imagine you adored this film and want to recommend it to your best pal. A conversation would go like this:
You: Look it up. Dot Kill.
Pal: Dot, like, do I write the word ‘dot’ or just make a dot?
You: Both.
Pal: Wait, so the title is Dot Dot Kill?
You: No, it’s Dot but then there’s an actual dot and then the word 'Kill'.
Pal: But that doesn’t make any sense.
You: But it looks cool.

Pal: No it doesn't, it looks stupid and redundant.

You: You're right. Let's go eat nachos.

Pal: Dot done.

Quick Plot: Someone with a fast speed Internet connection is staging elaborate Saw-ish murders for all of cyberspace to see, including the slacker son of Detective Daines. Daines (or Double Dees, because that's a far better nickname) is dying of lung cancer, coughing his way through a morphine addiction and general surliness. Having to deal with a whiz kid in a wheelchair tech consultant doesn't help his condition, nor does the fact that the entire world gets to watch his squad fail to save lives online.

Yes, it's essentially an earlier version of Firewall (I assume, since I've never seen Firewall but assuming never hurt anyone, right?). Directed by respectable filmmaker John Irvin (Ghost Story, Raw Deal, Hamburger Hill) and starring the generally respectable (unless put in an NBC mythological miniseries) Armand Assante, Dot.Kill is competently made. It's just also kind of boring.

It's not hard to finger the killer, which would be fine if the film had anything interesting to say about him. It does not. 

How about the whole issue of an apathetic but blood hungry public sitting back as their desktops stream brutal murders in real time? I'm sure there's a few questions we should be asking about that.

But eh. That requires a lot of work. We've got nachos to eat.

High Points
The idea of making your hero a highly flawed individual with a death sentence certainly gives Dot.Kill an interested story base, and Assante coughs up lungs with admirable gusto

Not one, but 2-TWO uses of my favorite "Nooooooooooooooooo!" are found following explosions

Low Points
I can't remember the last time I've seen a film begin with less energy than Dot.Kill. While the rest of the film maintains enough motivation, the opening scene or two (including one set in a strip club less fun than the DMV) just seems to spell doom

Lessons Learned
Shouting at a subordinate to "talk to me!" but following his first attempt to do so with "shut up!" doesn't help anyone, least of all the exasperated audience

This Internet shit can give you nightmares

Do not, for the health and happiness of all, mess with Armand Assante's breakfast routine

Meh. Dot.Kill isn't awful, but I don't know that I'll remember anything about it (save for the annoying punctuation decision in the title) by July 4th. It's just there, and then it ended, and then I realized it would have been better if I'd watched it whilst eating aforepictured nachos That's really all I have to say about that.


  1. You know, the second I saw the title of this film, in my head, I started thinking your exact same opening to this review! And that's why you are wonderful. Among other reasons, of course. Awesome review, and as much as I feel like I can travel down roads once traveled by yourself, I think I might skip this one, Emily.

  2. No Matt, that's why WE are wonderful.

  3. Now I have a craving for nachos!
    Speaking of internet-horror, have you seen either Fear Dot Com (no annoying puncuation) or .com for Murder?

  4. What do you think of Vincent Price's performance in Witchfinder General?
    And have you ever seen the Dr Mabuse movies?

  5. Oh Chris, it's a rare day that I DON'T have a craving for nachos. And I actually have NOT seen Fear Dot Com or .com for Murder, although that never stopped me from making fun of the first film and now dying to see the second.

    Anonymous, I've had half a review of Witchfinder General sitting in one of my notebooks for MONTHS now. I keep forgetting to type it out! Spoiler alert: I didn't love the film, but I did love Price in it. And I've not seen the Dr. Mabuse films...

  6. "Spoiler alert: I didn't love the film," -- well you can keep those kind of thoughts to your self i think Ms Dollshouse. didn't love it, obviously you are crazy.
    -but for reals- do the review so we can engage in a comment war about how you are wrong and i am right - you actually DO love it.
    (I'd say something about Dot.Kill but really, what more can be said except i too enjoy nachos?)

  7. Man, I couldn't even hide my WG thoughts in the comment thread of a totally unrelated movie! The world is WATCHING!

    I liked it a lot. I think I was just expecting more, or maybe I felt an automatic defense because my understanding is that it's SO much more respected than Mark of the Devil, which I did love. I plan on rewatching WG with the commentary track because I think the director's age and life seem pretty interesting, so I'll revisit my half-penned review after that and promptly post it in anticipation for our polite war.

  8. sweet! i am twirling my mustache in anticipation.