February 4th, 2013
Have you ever seen a movie that requires you to say “what the fuck?” not once, but multiple times?
Yeah, Netflix has a lot of those.
You thought The Big Lebowski or The Hangover movies were chaotic.
“He Died with a Felafel in His Hand” (2001) is just like that, but “what the fuck” is a thousand times more necessary.
Basically, the film is about a man named Danny in Australia who moves from one shared house to another, and through the course of the 107 minutes, you can experience totally bat-shit crazy hyper-feminist neo-pagan misandrist sacrifice rituals, a hamburger patty that is stuck to the ceiling because who-the-hell-knows-why, and an unexpected but surprisingly appropriate onslaught of existentialist-and-or-nihilistic thought experiments.
Oh, and there’s one guy who treats frogs like golf balls.
“What the fuck,” right?
I have to be honest here — I did not like this movie as I was watching it. It was difficult to put together what was going on, why things were happening, and what significance they had in the grand scheme of things. None of the characters were particularly enjoyable (you can tell almost immediately that narcissism is a big element in the movie, and comes up frequently), and the plot was occasionally boring. It was difficult to pay attention to every action and word, but I do think there is something important about this movie.
I don’t quite know what, however. It could be something worth seeing because of its absurdity — everyone needs a good “The Dude” every now and then — but the absurdity is darker than movies like “The Big Lebowski” and “The Hangover” series. Director Richard Lowenstein and writer John Birmingham didn’t reduce it to a character study of a chain smoker, or to a series of curious interjections made by a group of severely narcissistic and slightly sadistic youths. That’s just the thing, the way the movie is constructed does not allow you to guess the nutshell synopsis. It takes a great deal of thought, even after the movie, to understand that it is more about the inconsistency of happiness… or that it’s about the cyclical nature of the pursuit of happiness… or that it’s some grander social commentary.
If you would like a movie in which the time after you see it begins to give the movie more meaning, certainly see “He Died with a Felafel in His Hand,” and at least try to power through the “what the fuck” moments.