CIFF Review: A F*ckload of Scotch Tape
Oct 19 // Geoff Henao @videocognito
[Flixist will be attending the 48th Chicago International Film Festival over the next few weeks. Be sure to follow along as we bring you coverage from the longest-running competitive international film festival in the country. You can easily keep track of the coverage here.]
Style can go a long way in any form of art. It can make an average movie more exciting, but then it could also be a cheap way to cover up shortcomings. A ton of cliches come to mind that involve ugly paintings with nice frames, glitter and gold, substance abuse and lack of style... or something like that. I think you guys can see where I'm going with this one...
A F*ckload of Scotch Tape
Director: Julian Grant
Benji (Graham Jenkins) is a low-life that occasionally does small jobs for Mr. Kent (Brian Shaw), an enigmatic mob boss-like character. After he kidnaps and turns a young high school kid over to Kent, Benji is paid $50,000 for the gig. However, it turns out he was used as the fall man when the kid's body is found. A chain reaction of events begins when Benji attempts to leave his past behind, leading to a mission for personal and identity redemption.
A F*ckload of Scotch Tape is presented as a neo-noir/crime/revenge film with musical elements thrown in. It's a valiant effort to try to mix genres together, but it doesn't work out very well. The noir-ish elements of internal dialogue is replicated through both a first-person narrative and scenes where Jenkins is lip syncing to a song that exemplifies that particular scene's mood. However, these "musical interludes" are distracting more than anything, as it's so painfully distracting that he's lip syncing.
Furthermore, these "musical interludes" break any sort of momentum that's been building. Again, it was an attempt by director/writer Julian Grant to add an extra layer to the film, but it's unnecessary. The noir elements are also over-the-top, with just as much blood gushing out from Benji as there are homophobic slurs. In fact, there's a lot of gay bashing in the film, both literally and figuratively. I'm not gonna say this film promotes some sort of hate towards homosexuality, but it just seems like a misguided attempt to appear "edgy."
That's the fundamental problem with A F*ckload of Scotch Tape: it tries way too hard. There are too many unrealized ideas thrown at the wall in hopes for it all to come together. When it works, it's entertaining, such as the film's editing. Multiple cameras are used where scenes transition from security cameras to "regular" camera shots to dual-camera split screens. It definitely adds aesthetic value, but that's not enough to hide the shortcomings of the writing.
It's full of noir/revenge cliches, and while it harkens back to the genre's trappings, it does nothing to attempt to escape them. Sure, there are multiple twists throughout the film, but they're way too predictable. Of course, Grant's decisions could be seen as a deliberate homage to classic noir/revenge films, but why bother do what we're already used to?
The main problem with the film is that it really is all style with little to no substance. Outside of the slurs, the blood, the strippers, and the drugs is an empty shell of a film. If A F*ckload of Scotch Tape were a candy, it'd probably be a Whopper- it has a tasty exterior, but once you get past that, it's a whole lot of nothing. I mean, with a title like A F*ckload of Scotch Tape, would you expect otherwise?
THE VERDICT: 45/100
A F*ckload of Scotch Tape - Reviewed by Geoff Henao
Subpar. I kind of want to like this movie, but I can't. It is not worth your time.
Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our comment moderators
Can't see comments? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this. Easy fix: Add
[*].disqus.comto your security software's whitelist.