Somewhere—buried amid the cheesy dance numbers, unpredictable performances and uneven style—there is a certain charm beating within Me You Madness.
It’s hard to find, and only really resonatesin the film’s final act, but there is a glimmer of appeal to the melodrama that Louise Linton offers up. But it is, unfortunately, a relatively small fraction of enjoyment in a film that cannot sustain its own ambitions.
As well as directing and writing Me You Madness, triple threat Louise Linton also stars as Catherine Black. As our erratic, egotistical, homicidal protagonist, she wears shades of Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman on her sleeve (there’s a direct American Psycho reference in the first 15 minutes). Her latest victim, Tyler Jones (Ed Westwick), is himself a prolific con-man who seems destined to become another tally on Catherine’s kill list—if it were not for an unlikely romance to blossom between the two. In trying desperately to produce a work of energy and distinction, Linton throws everything at the wall. What sticks? Beyond the certainties (definitely not the unsettling threesome), it’s quite hard to say.
First and foremost, it is a satire—for large proportions of the film, that much is very clear. It makes meta, knowing nods to other gore-fest films and very modern references to #girlboss feminism and millennial tendencies. But there is a sense that the film itself never really knows what it is satirising: it tries to throw many different punches at many different walls, without ever really leaving a hole in any of them. It should be better at taking command of this tone with the liberties it hands itself in narration and fourth-wall breaking, but these elements end up feeling mostly redundant.
And maybe that is because the film never really lands on a stylistic level, despite trying to do so much with its design. The dance sequences feel shoe-horned and distracting. The direct gestures to other films are tedious and too sporadic to make any sense. One scene is edited like a noughties music video. The rest of the film has a production design that resembles a perfume commercial. At its best and at its worst, it is all over the place: tighter direction would assure this erraticism worked more in the film’s favour.
Linton does manage to keep the narrative predominantly interesting and—eventually—fun, which is a feat worth commending considering the film is made up of essentially a single location and a handful of actors. To their credit, Westwick, Linton and the small ensemble do their best to sell us on the script’s farcical moments, even if none of the moments feel as truly funny as they were intended to be. But for all its strange temperament, it does come into its own. It becomes increasingly clear that Linton wanted to make something that never wanted to take itself too seriously, and that does become admirable.
By the height of its bombastic final act, its quirks flower into something that is finally memorable. It plays with its fourth-wall breaking and even becomes self-aware of its tonal inconsistencies, with jumps between slasher horror rip-off and schmaltzy romance being played effectively and deliberately for comedy. But by the time it gets there, most audience faith had likely been lost.
It just about leaves a smile on your face with its charade of satire and enthusiasm, but the stale chaos of its first two acts leaves a lasting damage. Louise Linton never quite finds the rhythm or style that Me You Madness desired, and as a result the flick falls short in most departments.
Me You Madness is out now via iTunes/ Apple TV, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Sky Store, Sony, TalkTalk, Virgin and Rakuten.
Words by Ben Faulkner
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