SF IndieFest 2014
By Don Simpson | February 4, 2014
Director: Eddie Mullins
Writer: Eddie Mullins
Starring: Justin Rice, Leo Fitzpatrick, Brian Charles Johnson, Laura Campbell, Jenny Bradley, Jason Downs, Deshja Driggs, Heidi K. Eklund, Scarlett Hollinger, Neal Huff, Keith Leonard, Reagan Leonard, Susan Louise O’Connor, Scott Aston
Dirty Fred (Justin Rice) and Bruho (Leo Fitzpatrick) live a fairly comfortable lifestyle thanks to the sheer quantity of affluent homes in the Catskills that are left abandoned during the off-season. They function as amoral parasites living off of the unsuspecting upper crust of Upstate New York via an endless lifecycle of finding an unoccupied vacation home, breaking inside, consuming any worthwhile alcohol and food stashed away by the owners, trashing the house, and leaving before getting caught.
Dirty Fred (Justin Rice) is a self-proclamed “solipsistic fuckwad” with a penchant for hobo-chic hipster attire. An unflinchingly horny asshole fueled by a perpetual intake of booze, Dirty Fred is relentlessly sardonic and condescending; but like a Wes Anderson or Hal Ashby character turned unapologetically demented, just enough quirk appeal squeaks through to make Dirty Fred just a wee bit endearing. As we observe Dirty Fred over time, the more confused and misguided he seems. He has jumped on M. King Hubbert’s peak theory bandwagon merely as an excuse to over-inflate his slackerish selfishness and apathetic aggression towards humanity.
Bruho (Leo Fitzpatrick) is the silent-but-crazy type, riddled with severe anger management issues. Though Dirty Fred is supposedly the brains of this crazy operation, Bruho is the more thoughtful one with a stronger political motive. Bruho wholeheartedly believes that the end of the world is nigh because of Hubbert’s peak theory. He adamantly refuses to do anything that would expand his carbon footprint in order to avoid a personal contribution to the rapidly approaching apocalypse. A violent anarchist with a cause, Bruho perceives his actions as a way to punish the rich homeowners for their shameful neglect of the environment. As Bruho sees it, the homeowners are the very reason that the world is ending.
Not unlike the droogs of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Dirty Fred and Bruho see absolutely nothing wrong with stealing from the rich. In their minds, the world is going to shit, so why not go out in a drunken blaze of semi-barbaric thiefdom and mayhem? The temporarily vacant homes that they transform into high-end squats are otherwise being squandered by the owners. As harbingers of the apocalypse, Dirty Fred and Bruho are merely taking advantage of the indiscreet wastefulness of the bourgeoisie; besides, the dollar value of what Dirty Fred and Bruho nonchalantly consume, steal and destroy during their brief stays is presumably barely negligible in comparison to the owners’ bank accounts.
Dirty Fred and Bruho’s teenage-like ambivalence lures a naive and bored local teenager, Jaidon (Brian Charles Johnson), into their fold. They take Jaidon under their wing, teaching him the tricks of their trade. Jaidon’s initial purpose in the narrative is to serve as a barometer to measure Dirty Fred and Bruho’s own levels of immaturity; but as soon as a mother-figure — Reyna (Laura Campbell) — also enters the mix, Jaidon becomes the son of a highly dysfunctional family unit.
Constructed with a series of long takes, framed in a precise and profound manner, writer-director Eddie Mullins’ Doomsdays is an artfully orchestrated black comedy, armed with adroitly choreographed layers of details. Mullins does an admirable job of providing his protagonists — specifically Dirty Fred and Bruho — with fully fleshed-out characterizations without relying upon expository dialog. Doomsdays thoughtfully presents us with four types of people who have historically given civil disobedience a bad name, as each character participates in the crime spree for different reasons: Dirty Fred out of sheer laziness, Bruho out of misguided anger, Jaidon out of the teenage tendency to fuck shit up, and Reyna out of the questionable desire to hang out with these guys. While there are rational reasons to participate in civil disobedience, Doomsdays is certainly not about the possibility of Hubbert’s theory actually being accurate, or what we should do to prevent the environmental destruction of the world. Instead, Doomsdays is fascinated with the fringe anarchists who are among the very first to cry out that the sky is falling, weaving an intelligent social commentary of violence and rebellion along the lines of the aforementioned A Clockwork Orange and Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend.