The less known about The Death of Dick Long in advance, the better. While spoilers should not make or break a good story – and this is such a film – the first half of the film plays much differently if you go in with any intel. After this, however, there remains a wild, hilarious ride to the only possible reckoning.

Daniel Scheinert’s latest shares much in common with his 2016 co-directorial effort, Swiss Army Man: both films take the basest human instincts and give them full rein, resulting in a truly bizarre series of events. However, it lacks the deeply humanising performances that made the earlier film so resonant. Perhaps because Dick Long’s cast is larger, no one gets the same space to move beyond caricatures. That said, there are plenty of laughs and a uniquely paced whodunit at the heart of Dick Long. As the increasingly inept attempts of Zeke (Michael Abbot Jr) and Earl (Andre Hyland) to cover up their friend’s death grow in absurdity, a strong sense of place and deadpan dialogue make this world feel one delightful degree removed from reality.

This leads into Scheinert’s inspired craftsmanship of the central mystery: its unfolding to the audience and each of the involved characters is remarkably organic. In a small Alabama town, news travels fast, and with one minor exception, there are no contrivances to keep characters in the dark for longer than makes logical sense. Every conversation – and the information it uncovers for each new party – is expertly constructed and believably revealing. Instead of rushing things along, this increases the dramatic tension by constantly threatening life-altering revelations – and the characters cannot be trusted with discretion.

The Death of Dick Long may rely too much on novelty but wins goodwill with its complete assuredness, juxtaposing jaw-dropping shocks with delightfully mundane characters and setting.



CAST: Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker

DIRECTOR: Daniel Scheinert

WRITER: Billy Chew

SYNOPSIS: A wild night out ends in an accidental death, and the two remaining friends scramble to keep the circumstances from coming out.