For those who love black comedies then Bad Day For The Cut is for you – think In Bruges but with even more action. We are introduced to Donal, a middle aged man who still lives with his mother on a small farm in Northern Ireland. He’s worried life is passing him by and this is reinforced when he is mocked by a drunken youth for his life choices at his local pub midway through his proposition of the barmaid. We sense that Donal is attempting to correct his lot in life in small steps when he agrees to trade a car he’s fixed up for a camper van so he and his mum can go on a trip. We get the sense of pent up frustration that’s built up over the years and his urgency to get out there – on one hand he wants to travel yet on the other he feels compelled to look after his frail mother. So when that decision is taken out of his hands during a home invasion he finds himself turning those years of frustration into aggression on a vengeance rampage through the town’s gangland.
Chris Baugh has hit gold on his debut feature and I’m looking forward to hunting out his earlier shorter films after watching Bad Day For The Cut. He spoke before the film began on his love for genre films and his aim to make something like Oldboy but set in a small town in Northern Ireland. While revenge films can often be formulaic or nothing new this is (pardon the pun) a cut above: it’s a thrilling success full of action, tension, explosive violence and laugh out loud comedy.
The real marvel here is the tone – so much of the film could be too dark or too violent but it’s so carefully balanced that you relax knowing you’re in a safe pair of hands. Applause must be given to both the director, writers and editor who have helped achieve this perfect mix. The violence is often just off screen so we never step too far into torture or gore remaining both thrilling and instilling that necessary sense of righteousness to Donal’s character. We know he has been wronged and until he has evened the score he will not be stopped.
On his one man battle he uncovers a human trafficking and prostitution ring involving abducted European women where he meets Bartosz and his sister Kaja whom he helps rescue. Both trapped in this criminal world, he teams up with them and, as his quest takes him through this underworld, we find ourselves siding with Donal’s efforts to end the evil that’s corrupting his home town.