Reviewbr> “How does it feel to watch someone you love die in front of you?” - Albert Pike
After martial arts expert Nina is attacked and raped by a gang lead by Vincent the Poison, her brother helps her to get revenge on her assailants. This brings the deadly duo to the attention of crocked Detective Trevor Moretti, who has problems of a sexual nature with both male and female colleagues. Moretti enlists Nina, and her brother Harris, in a sort of Dexter clean up role, which unfortunately starts to get twisted when the wealthy Albert Pike begins paying Moretti to sort out a few people who have pissed him off.
While Nina and Harris are sociopaths, and Moretti has a thing for Nina, Father Ramone tries to curtail the rising tide of blood around the three. Things begin to get out of hand when Nina and Harris kill Henry Pike, mistaking Henry for his male lover who Albert wanted dead. With Police Captain Jerry Thorn closing in on Moretti's sideline, Albert Pike after revenge, and Nina becoming increasingly psychopathic, things are edging toward a brutal and bloody final confrontation. Lets lock and load on this one.
If Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino had a love child then that child would be christened The Devil's 6 Commandments. Dicky Tanuwidjaya's debut feature is either a work of absolute genius or the product of a deranged mind. Your pick there, just grab a session of the movie to make your mind up, I'm going with the first option by the way. If expecting simply another revenge flick then you are in for a shock, Tanuwidjaya plays around with the notion of faith, violence, and exactly what constitutes a movie, to startling effect.
Dicky Tanuwidjaya presents a weird hybrid Ozploitation and strangely I would say Philipino cross outing that never fails to entertain the Audience.
Structurally 6 Commandments is apt to delight the Pulp Fiction (1994) crowd while being something of a smack in the mouth for those that like doing it Boredwood conveyor belt style. The movie is broken into six interrelated chapters or in this case commandments, each of which has a title card, and follows Guy Ritchie's approach of having a non-linear plot that somehow gels together by the final act. I was rocking along to what Tanuwidjaya was doing with this aspect of the movie, don't worry nothing is left up in the air, it'll all make sense by the final gun battle. Add in some pretty snappy dialogue, some cool minor characters (Morgan the Morgue, Drake the Devil, Albert Pike), and you have a pretty hip and groovy outing to show friends that you can rightfully sit at the cool kids table. Surprisingly, given the structure, the Director avoids everything falling into a heap of nonsensical action pieces, or meandering into the beloved territory of the wine and cheese set. You get a story, told from multiple angles, and you get a beyond interesting framework to enjoy that story in. Excellent stuff.
I must admit that Tanuwidjaya caught my attention from his very first scene, blond chick being threatened by Asian dude with a honking great knife, the twist coming at me got me on the hook and then I was reeled in as things escalated from there. Don't expect normal conventions to hold, 6 Commandments flows in an altogether far more surreal fashion.
Another striking aspect to the movie is the picture inserts the Director has happening from time to time, and used to great effect in one heck of a shot out. We get to know some of the minor characters, and save screen time, by the use of oft-times humorous inserts that point out the primary character trait we are meant to pick up on. Thus Morgan the Morgue, who adds human flesh to his restaurant’s menu as either chicken or pork when it is available, has a title card that looks like a Butcher's magazine. After the initial scene we have a newspaper front page, said paper being the “Daily Slasher”. I was on board Tanuwidjaya's groove train with this approach, there's a lot happening in the movie hence any saving of screen time is an asset. The innovative approach extends to the title credits that are shown as street signs and other urban-scape features, a startling approach that got a nod of approval from your's truly.
While I would like to point out the excellent script 6 Commandments has at it's disposal, I would be in danger of hitting the spoiler button if I did so. Just take it as read that we're talking a clever, twisting, script that doesn't let up on delivering surprise plot developments and left field situations. It all adds up in the overall context of the movie, which is about as good as it can get really. About the only problem I had was with a couple of aspects that were left floating in the wind; why exactly Father Ramone's own murderous pass didn't come into play with Nina, and who the heck Nina's shopping buddy was. Probably minor points, but lets be fully covered here. Don't worry they don't distract from the movie beyond a certain wondering what hit the editing room floor.
Leads Gianna Pattison (Nina), Felino Dolloso (Harris), and Maninho de Aruanda (Det. Trevor Moretti ), are all turning in solid performances with fairly complex roles. Dolloso in particular has to deliver on a character who is psychotic while having a rum sense of humour. The Actor reminds me of someone but I can't recall who. However a couple of the support cast are stealing scenes whenever they appear. Robin Queree (Father Ramone) nails it as the man of God with a shady past, and Robert Luxford (Albert Pike) went over the top as the millionaire with an axe to grind who claims “I'm not homophobic I just hate gays”.
Out of space here, quick mention of the dramatic score, which is used well in amongst the rock numbers on the soundtrack, and the novel way of avoiding the cost of special effects in some of the fight scenes.
Dicky Tanuwidjaya delivers a movie that will keep your interest, give you a new lease on cinema life, and generally have you happy with the time spent in The Devil's 6 Commandments Country. The movie is innovative, constantly surprising the Audience, while finally telling a compelling story of staring into the abyss. There's clearly a religious themed angle going down, unfortunately I don't have the room to even approach that aspect, but no doubt that is going to spark a number of post movie coffee debates. I had a good time, full recommendation, Director/Writer Dicky Tanuwidjaya kicks a major.
There's an official website for the movie right here, that's far more informative than this review. The movie will be available for purchase from 28th October 2011; outside North America hit online, inside North America selected retailed outlets.