Crimewave Film Details
Overview: A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric ch
Tagline: Extermination is not just a business. It’s a way of life.
Review: Oh what gleeful, delirious, no-holds-barred and anything (illogical but fun) goes movie Crimewave is! I use an exclamation point to add a little emphasis, perhaps in a near abstract way, but really this is a picture chock-full of abstractions, to the point where if you don’t get into it by the first twenty or so minutes, you might as well turn it off (well, actually, don’t if you dare). I watched it with a few friends and it made it even more of a great ride as it’s a movie made in mind for an audience who’s already used to Raimi (and the Coen brothers for that matter) with the style of film-making in tow. One friend said it best, which is maybe the only way to describe Crimewave aka the XYZ Murders- it’s a full-bodied live-action cartoon. Granted this approach to style has been a big chunk of Raimi’s forte, particularly in the horror films. But here its cranked up to its maximum, and as the characters go to their most extreme lengths and attitudes, and situations and sequences go to their absolute limits AND beyond even, it becomes like a daring act of entertainment. It’s like Looney Tunes done through the heedlessly deranged, bizarre, crude, and bombastic heights that Raimi and the Coens go for. Indeed, we even tried to guess at times what scenes might have been written more by the brothers and which were more of Raimi’s doing. But either way, it all combines into a very simple idea stretched out- a man, Vic Ajax (Reed Birney), recounts the twisted and too-much-to-believe story of what REALLY happened the night of the crimes committed, as he is nearing the electric chair. This involves mainly a shifty-eyed employer, a character with more to do with Ajax than the other parts (Bruce Campbell as the ‘Heel’, classic with a chin that is even more chin-ier, if that’s possible), and a pair of exterminators who are, without a doubt, crazy enough to kill anyone, be then bugs, rats, ‘Men’, or even ‘Heroes’ depending on their electric-setting. This then leads to the sordid tale of one night’s time as the exterminators wipe out almost everyone- well, ALMOST- as Ajax gets swept into this wild downward trip of insanity and inane chases and attempting to murder/murder, and becomes a hero to the woman he wants in the process. All of this is told with the visual verve, panache, and unique sensibility that has made Raimi a filmmaker who can bring out laughs sometimes by how he puts props and sets together and moves the camera all around through them. There’s no stone unturned in putting clichés here to be ripped to shreds, and the two actors playing the exterminators (Paul L. Smith and Brion James) are so far-gone into their characterizations that they couldn’t be more convincing if they were drawn by Chuck Jones himself. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the absurdities that would go on and on; my favorites included the big bust-in that Smith did on Lasser’s place (she throwing everything she has at him, then once crushed by bowling balls literally pulling the room towards him, then on and on it goes), and the big car chase climax that features everything from car-top brawls to the typical ‘will the car slip over to the river’ moments. It’s a sign of true mad-cap quality when Campbell, who relishes greatly in playing such a one-note sleaze-bag, is only one of the finest components in the puzzle. And the hero character too, played by Birney, becomes a little more believable after the initial blandness of the ‘nerd’ quality fades, particularly in the dance-hall scenes and towards the end too. Crimewave is so dedicated to only following the rules of there being ‘no-rules’ in what can be done with the camera and with deranged night-time lighting and getting such obscenely cool performances coming out of a cracker-jack script, that it’s ironic to see that Raimi supposedly disowned the film. This might even be one of those rare cases, at least to me, where the producers might have been right about this, concerning the recasting of Campbell I mean (he works best as a hero in Evil Dead, but here it wouldn’t of been as convincing for the nerd work, plus he’d have to fight for room with the killer/exterminator actors). And as far as the editing and music goes I might be missing something, but it doesn’t really feel compromised. If anything the cuts end up having to get into a sort of groove with Raimi’s takes and angles and such. Also at 83 minutes, despite what may or may not have been cut out, it feels at a near-perfect length for the subject matter; any more might have run the risk of losing its sustained momentum, if that makes sense. But to put it in brief, if you haven’t heard of this movie and by some chance come across it on ebay, and are a fan of the filmmakers by any stretch (or just in general a fan of cartoons), it’s a must-see sleeper kind of comedy, where the gags and jokes and puns keep staying strong all the way up to the big finale at the Hudsucker prison (ho-ho). It’s up there with my favorites of the director’s, with splendid contributions from Joel & Ethan Coen.
Country: United States
Duration: 83 min
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Horror
Also known as: Ring – Så mördar vi!,捉蟲殺人事件,Ola de crímenes, ola de risas,Broken hearts and broken noses,Brdr. Mord,Crimewave,Asyllipti katadioxi sto Bronx,Mort sur le gril,Crimewave (Ola de crímenes… ola de risas),To kynigi tis megalis trelas,I due criminali più pazzi del mondo,Talas zlocina,The XYZ Murders,Onda de Crime,Suç dalgası,Crazy crimewave,Ασύλληπτη Καταδίωξη στο Μπρονξ,Fala zbrodni,O Pequeno Crime,La Fiesta Del Crimen,Bűnözési hullám,XYZ (Ekusu-Wai-Zetto) madazu,Волна преступности,Konnajengi,Dois Heróis Bem Trapalhões,Die Killer-Akademie,XYZマーダーズ,Academia de locos