Kills On Wheels

Real Crime - - Reviews - Re­leased out now Di­rec­tor At­tila Till dis­trib­u­tor Eu­reka En­ter­tain­ment avail­able on dvd and blu- ray

Films that put dis­abled char­ac­ters front and cen­tre are few and far be­tween, and even more scarce are those that present them as any­thing more than props for story arcs or as the means for able- bod­ied ac­tors to re­plen­ish their tro­phy cab­i­net come the awards sea­son.

Rather re­fresh­ingly, Kills On Wheels – the sec­ond fea­ture from Hun­gar­ian di­rec­tor At­tila Till – avoids both pit­falls, cre­at­ing some­thing that avoids sen­ti­men­tal­ity while never en­croach­ing on ex­ploita­tion ter­ri­tory. It fol­lows two friends, Zoli ( Zoltán Fenyvesi) and Barba ( Ádám Fekete) as they buddy up with wheel­chair- bound hit­man Ru­pas­zov ( Sz­abolcs Thuróczy) on his homi­ci­dal es­capades.

Both Fenyvesi and Fekete have the same dis­abil­i­ties as their char­ac­ters, and, es­pe­cially in the case of the for­mer, this makes their por­tray­als far more be­liev­able. Zoli’s back­ground – he’s in dire need of a live- sav­ing op­er­a­tion but is re­luc­tant to ac­cept it ow­ing to the fact that it’ll be paid for by the father who sup­pos­edly aban­doned him – adds cre­dence to his sud­den at­tach­ment to Ru­pas­zov, who is both a sur­ro­gate father fig­ure and a source of ad­ven­ture that the two have never had at the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity where they live.

At this point it would be wrong not to men­tion Thuróczy’s per­for­mance. While Zoli and Barba em­brace the op­por­tu­nity not to be con­fined, Ru­pas­zov uses his wheel­chair as both a shield and a cam­ou­flage – the air of help­less­ness he de­lib­er­ately ex­udes fre­quently proves fa­tal to his boun­ties. Ini­tially dis­mis­sive of his two charges, even­tu­ally he comes to need them as much as they need him – which is touch­ing enough, but it threat­ens to mire the film in the same sen­ti­men­tal­ity that it had avoided be­fore.

Ul­ti­mately, the cen­tral mes­sage is a fairly per­func­tory one of over­com­ing bound­aries and liv­ing life to the full ( not to men­tion that crime isn’t a closed so­ci­ety), but in this day and age this kind of mes­sage seems far more rel­e­vant than it did pre­vi­ously. Clas­sic ac­tion flicks like Leon and Ter­mi­na­tor 2 are clear sources of in­spi­ra­tion here, and ones that

Till melds with his own ideas to pro­duce some­thing that is both evoca­tive, so­cially con­scious and down­right en­ter­tain­ing.

So while Kills On Wheels isn’t quite as orig­i­nal as its ini­tial de­scrip­tion would ap­pear to sug­gest, there’s far more meat on its bones than is made clear, and for that rea­son it comes highly rec­om­mended.

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