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:: You Can't Stop The Murders

‘You can’t stop the Murders’ is based on a sketch written for television by Gary Eck, Akmal Saleh and Anthony Mir. The film has an excellent comedy premise: A biker, construction worker, sailor, cowboy and Indian are murdered in a small country town. The two yokel cops investigating realise that someone is killing ‘members’ of the Village People. This discovery leads them to conclude that the next victim must be a cop, i.e. one of their own.

The cast primarily constitutes stand up comedians with some notable cameos from The Umbilical Brothers and Jimeoin. Mir is a first time director in the most profound sense of the word; that is, he has never directed anything before, not even a short. Unfortunately, this lack of experience combined with a great premise has not produced an original, exciting work. Instead, it has proven that without an experienced director at the helm, the funniest and most original material will fall flat.

Gary Eck and Akmal Saleh are excellent in the lead roles, bringing a much-needed deadpan naivete to their roles. Eck is also impressively athletic in the line-dancing numbers, offering up some suitably ‘flashdancesque’ moves. The performances from all the comedians are solid however the same cannot be said for the actors. Overall the performance style is arch and typical of the ‘quirky’ comedy that Australia has become famous (some would say infamous) for.

There are basic comedy direction principles that are ignored at the expense of the story. The arch performance style reduces the supporting roles to cartoon characters that we can neither relate to nor care about. The use of reaction shots (to comedic events) is overlooked in favour of a single static, locked-off camera approach, nullifying the drama of events and thereby, the comedy. The rhythm of performance is unbearably slow so that the audience is writing the punch line before the set-up is finished. All these errors are predictable and forgivable in a first time director’s short film but unbearable in a feature length work.