Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break @ Fantasia Film Festival

Many of us dream of becoming famous. We want to be a star basketball player, top of the charts singer or Oscar-winning actor/actress. Few of us actually do something to attain this goal while even fewer actually get to be famous. It is uber rare to become famous. Like super rare. Think of it, there are 7.6 billion people on the planet and how many Oprah Winfreys or Angelina Jolies or Lionel Messis are there? Yet, many still dream of fame.

Forty-something Paul Dood (Tom Meeten – Paddington), who works at a mall charity shop, wants to be famous and believes his way of doing this is through the talent show hosted by Jack Tapp (Kevin Bishop – Muppet Treasure Island). He has worked out a whole routine for his audition. His elderly housebound mother (June Watson – 102 Dalmatians, The Lady in the Van) is sewing a very sequiny outfit for him to wear.

Panic sets in when he discovers the audition is not next week but today. He rushes to get to the audition on time. Things like pushing his mother in her wheelchair, getting the rail worker to put out the ramp for the wheelchair so his mother can get on the train, getting water from the owner of an Asian tea shop and getting into a taxi before it gets stolen out from under his nose by a pastor and nun. Everything is working against Paul.

He gets there late but Jack Tapp ends up being a jerk and while allowing him to audition late just mocks his act and takes off. Crushed that this dream of fame is dead, things go from bad to worse when he returns to his mother to find her dead.

With everything taken from him, Paul decides to get revenge on the people who made him late for the audition and leading to the death of his mother. His co-worker, the tea shop owner, a pastor and a nun and a rail worker are all on his hit list. This is going to be one deadly lunch break that might result in the fame Paul seeks.

While this is far from a great film it certainly is a lot of fun if you are willing to go along with it on its zany ride. With its distinctly low budget and British tone, director Nick Gillespie’s film not only provides you with plenty of laughs and blood but also some fairly interesting commentary on society today. Our obsession with fame, streaming live stuff and reality shows is shown to often not be just harmless diversions. We also tread into subjects like the bloodthirsty nature of crowds and the corruption often found in the church. Sometimes heavy stuff for a film this quirky and filled with blood.

Throughout it all there is an enjoyable mixture of light and dark. Both sides of the film are done in an over-the-top way, including the cinematography and soundtrack which is made up of loads of British New Wave tracks from the 80s like Georgio Moroder’s “Together in Electric Dreams” and Flock of Seagulls “I Ran”. All outrageous and all fun.

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