Review: F*ckload Of Scotch Tape (2012)

f*ckload of scotch tape

Admittedly I’m only an EMT and am certainly not trained in the medical field whatsoever, but I don’t think a sling fashioned from scotch tape is going to be super effective!

Written By: Julian Grant
Directed By: Julian Grant

I’m not a huge proponent of the throw everything against the wall approach to filmmaking. That tact can lead to amazing moments, but when that approach goes off the rails the result is a movie that is neigh unwatchable. Too often the throw it all against the wall approach results in movies that are a mess of ideas and techniques. It’s very rare that a director can manage to harangue the various tricks, techniques, and style choices he/she is employing into a film that works. F*ckload Of Scotch Tape starts off on the wrong foot, has brief moments when it becomes interesting, and ends up off the rails once it’s exhausted all of its tricks.

Tricks may seem like a harsh word, but it does adequately describe F*ckload Of Scotch Tape. Julian Grant establishes in the opening minutes of the film that he is not seeking to make a conventional movie by any measure. What follows is a kind of neo-noir mixed with a musical and a violent crime picture. To accomplish a mixing of such disparate styles Mr. Grant employs every single technical trick he knows. The singing is that of an actual musician dubbed over the lead actors voice. There are sequences of slo-mo, black and white flashbacks, split frame, blurred picture, and super imposition of still photography. That should sound like a lot of techniques, because it is a heck of a lot of techniques. The problem with using so many techniques is that the film is never grounded in one style. I couldn’t get a sense of what Mr. Grant wanted to say visually with F*ckload Of Scotch Tape because at every turn he was attempting to spice up, or reinvent his picture.

The musical aspect of F*ckload Of Scotch Tape is one of the maddening features of the film. I quite enjoyed the vocal style of Kevin Quain. His throaty and emotionally bare style reminded me very much of Tom Waits. Unfortunately the musical sequences in F*ckload Of Scotch Tape grind the film to a screeching halt. No matter what I thought of the other approaches used by Mr. Grant, his film did have a lot of momentum. But then the musical numbers start and all the momentum stops. I was left shaking my head at the reason for the inclusion of the musical numbers. There’s also the issue of the voice of Mr. Quain being dubbed over the lead actors voice. Every time I was taken out of the film when this happened because not only was it obviously a different voice but I never believed for a second that Benji was the introspective bloke that the songs put forth.

Believability is important to me when it comes to a film that seeks to be gritty. I enjoyed some of the dialogue in F*ckload Of Scotch Tape, but more often than not I didn’t believe that the characters would say what they were saying. Most of all F*ckload Of Scotch Tape is an extremely violent movie without much in the way of believable violence. Or, to clarify the violence is not believable when it is of the punch and kick variety. There is one particular point of view shot when Benji is supposedly punching an older gay gentlemen in the face. It was glaringly obvious that Benji was not connecting with any of his punches. He was punching very softly, and he was pulling back his punches so as to not make contact. It may seem like a small thing, but F*ckload Of Scotch Tape wants to be tactile. It’s hand to hand violence simply isn’t believable in the tactile sense.

I will admit to being somewhat upset about the depiction of homosexuality in F*ckload Of Scotch Tape. I’m sure there are homosexuals like those Benji encounters throughout the film. However, Mr. Grant’s film seems to revel in depicting homosexual men as lecherous and deviant. It was hard to sit through the scenes involving homosexuality because it reached a point where I wasn’t sure if the character held such a view of homosexuality or if the film did. Art is art, but I’m not a fan of any piece of art that seems to want to vilify homosexuality, specifically homosexual men.

I don’t like coming down so hard on an independent movie. It was clear to me that Mr. Grant was trying to make a provocative film. He wanted F*ckload Of Scotch Tape to be different, edgy, and challenging for those watching. I won’t deny that he succeeded on all three of those fronts. But, when it comes to creating a compelling work that functions as a film from beginning to end Mr. Grant didn’t succeed. F*ckload Of Scotch Tape is edgy and different, but no matter how much shit is thrown against the wall there’s not much that is compelling about Mr. Grant’s film. I applaud Mr. Grant for his efforts. I shake my head at the possible vilification of homosexuality. And, I fail to find F*ckload Of Scotch Tape to be a film that is more than a misguided attempt to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hold what is leftover together with some easily torn apart scotch tape.




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