Daniels nearly broke Sundance in 2016 with the farting corpse movie Swiss Army Man. One Daniel, Daniel Scheinart is back with The Death of Dick Long, a solo movie that’s just as outrageous but this time it’s a surprise we won’t spoil.
Zeke (Michael Abbott, Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) are partying after band practice one night when Dick Long (Scheinart in his director’s cameo I guess) gets mortally injured. They leave him at the hospital and then proceed to try to cover up their involvement.
Billy Chew’s script sets up comic set pieces for Zeke and Earl. Since they are the most incompetent killers, it’s amusing to watch them bumble. Zeke tries to cover up blood in the car, but it leaks through. Then he has to cover it up with his body. They’re no better at dumping the car in a river or burning bloody clothes in the rain. It’s fun watching Zeke squirm due to his own incompetence.
The cops are kinda slow to put things together, but then there’s no reason they should suspect Zeke. All he’s done to their knowledge is report a found wallet and a stolen car. Zeke gradually gives himself away by revealing too much and the cops make the connections as Zeke and others let them slip.
When the true circumstances of Dick’s death are revealed, it is outrageous. Yet the impact it has on Zeke’s family and Dick’s wife Jane (Jess Weixler) are taken seriously with compassion. Zeke is a laughingstock but his wife Lydia (Virginia Newcomb) is a sincere person who has to cope with his shenanigans.
It’s poignant too because manchild behavior tends to be celebrated in movies. The fact is, good people get hurt and I don’t mean Dick. Dick was one of them, but Jane didn’t ask for any of this.
It’s safe to say Scheinart is not shying away from outrageous material after Swiss Army Man. The Death Of Dick Long is less surreal but equally uncomfortable, provocative, hilarious and wrong.