SXSW Review: Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break


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Paul Dood follows Paul Dood (Tom Meeten), a quirky, if somewhat delusional, man living with his mother and working at a charity shop. He is convinced he can win a talent competition if he can just get his chance, a theory supported by his aging mother, with who he is incredibly close. However, when the actions of five other exceptionally uncaring people make him miss his audition and lead to the demise of his mother he vows revenge, streaming his efforts over social media.

Of course, Paul Dood is just a guy in a little town without any “certain set of skills” so when he attempts to get revenge, things go more towards chaos than the badass moments of retribution he envisions in his head. It all leads to some truly gory deaths, a bit of social commentary, and a whole lot of weirdness that makes for an enjoyable, if slightly flawed, film.

Paul Dood's Deadly Lunch Break review header

Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break
Director: Nick Gillespie
Rated: N/A
Release Date: N/A

There may be some sort of metaphorical commentary going on here with those who get killed/punished representing the sins of society (bureaucracy, corruption, appropriation, and celebrity) but the movie never really tries to work with it. To that end, it also features a few hints at trying to say something about social media and our constantly live “selves” but never really commits to that either. Trying to look too deep into Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break probably isn’t the best idea as it will just let you down but if you simply consider it as a movie about a guy knocking off all the annoying twat stereotypes we all hate then, hell yeah, it works.

There’s something engrossingly charming about Meeten’s performance that keeps the film going and hits the emotional notes incredibly well. Despite the goofiness of nearly everything in the film, when Paul’s mother dies it’s a truly powerful moment, sold mostly by Meeten’s performance. The rest of the actors are on par, though most of them are playing caricatures allowing for the bloody deaths and gruesome comeuppance to not feel like you’re watching revenge porn. Their roles and the violence are played for laughs more than the schadenfreude found in more serious revenge films.

The film does struggle a bit to justify its killings. It never seems like we’re not supposed to be cheering for Paul, and while he never actually kills anyone directly, the intent is there. Yet, aside from the priest and his assistant, none of the other people really deserve their gory demises. Are they terrible? Yes. Do they deserve bloody death? No. Then again (I’m saying that a lot here), it’s hard to argue the movie struggles with anything since it just seems to want to have a bit of fun.

Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a film that survives on its off-kilter attitude and willingness to be different. While it never really dives headlong into any sort of “meaning” or “theme” its star and momentum carry it easily through. There’s a bit of magic spark playing throughout the film that makes it deliver exactly what its title suggests, nothing more and nothing less.



Paul Dood's Deadly Lunch Break is a film about a man who goes on a deadly lunch break but also a bit more. There's a surprising amount of depth here and while it is mostly concerned with having fun it brings a bit more to the table.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.