3 1/2 StarsWhat a devilish little gem The Mortician turns out to be. I must admit there are instances when I judge a flick by its DVD cover and this one had been staring me down for a few days. My expectations for a thriller starring Method Man of Wu Tang Clan fame were so low it took a mountain of will power just to get the disc into the player. Then the film started and from those opening moments it becomes obvious you’re in the hands of a talented filmmaker with a good story to tell. The noir style homage is more Proyas and Hughes Brothers than Hitchcock, but that seems appropriate given the atmosphere and tension The Mortician is able to mount in a very short period.
The life of a mortician is turned upside down when the body of a dead woman sparks memories of his past. Further complicating things is the presence of a young boy hiding out in the morgue to be with his mother just awhile longer. Turns out the kid is hiding from an abusive gang leader who happens to be his father. Reeling from the trauma inflicted by his own mother’s death, the mortician sets out to protect the boy from any harm while preparing to get him out of the city limits.
I had mentioned Method Man as being the lead actor but I feel as if that casts a certain image into the reader’s mind. This is a very different role for the rapper/actor as he plays a meek, quiet man with a hunted past and limited social skills. Meth choses to portray his character seriously and we never see the traces of a darker person lurking behind his eyes. I can’t say enough about the central performance because it is the glue that holds us over while the screenplay unfolds its layered backstories.
The haunting cinematography by Michael McDonough adds a richness to the tale casting a copper tone onto the damp city streets. Sharp direction by Gareth Maxwell Roberts is outstanding and the screenplay, also credited to Roberts, plays with the viewer just enough without ever losing focus of the overall arc. The Mortician feels like Dark City meets Kafka and I liked those movies too.
Director: Gareth Maxwell Roberts
Stars: Method Man, Dash Mihok, Edward Furlong