It takes a true mastermind to create movies that are such perfect disasters that you cannot stop watching. Niel Breen is one of them. His genre-defying films include Double Down, I am here…. Now and Fateful Findings. While likely intended to be serious art films on corruption and environmentalism, Breen’s heavy handed symbolism and patronizing soliloquys turn them into hysterical comedies.
You do not have to be a cinematography geek to see just how terribly, and yet beautifully, produced his films are. Every scene starts with a long establishing shot ranging from five seconds, to on occasion, minutes. Blood gushes out of wounds that would only create drops.
Breen’s writing does not disappoint. Scenes that appear to be designed to humanize characters cause them to come off as alien – the main character in Double Down ate hundreds of tuna fish cans, all of which he kept piled up in his car. One of his best skills is creating a story that is both clichéd and incoherent. One second you will be rolling your eyes and the next dumbfounded by a new development. Some mysteries are never solved, leaving you to guess why, for example, the magic rocks are a part of the story (every one of his films so far has included a rock with bizarre powers).
While the writing is wonderful in its own way, it can only become outstanding when the actors bring it to life. And the acting truly is breathtaking. Not once, in any of Breen’s movies, did a conversation feel natural. There is awkward silence between lines. Nobody speaks with emotion. Inflections in many sentences make it almost incomprehensible. But the greatest of all the actors is Breen himself. His unique way of speaking somehow is both emotionless and condescending. When his characters are mad they throw laptops (yes, plural. In two of his movies he plays hackers with a whole truckload of them). The acting alone will bring you enough cringe laughter to make it worth your while.
Although Breen’s movies seem to fail on every level, it is a resounding success on the most important level: entertainment. His films will transport you to a world where nothing makes sense and everything is cringe worthy yet you will love every second of it.
Breen’s newest film, Pass Thru, is expected to be on sale mid-October.