The Little Death
Review by Anthony Morris
Josh Lawson first feature as a writer / director is the kind of ensemble relationship comedy familiar on the indy film circuit, with one difference: this is a collection of stories about people with particular erotic fetishes.
Maeve (Bojana Novakovic) has a rape fantasy that her partner Paul (Lawson) attempts to fulfil; Rowena (Kate Box) is turned on by seeing her partner Richard (Patrick Brammall) cry; Dan and Evie (Damon Herriman and Kate Mulvaney) try roleplaying only to discover Dan is getting a little too much into it; Phil (Alan Dukes) discovers his wife (Lisa McCune) is a lot more fun when she’s asleep.
They’re all great starting points for stories; unfortunately the stories themselves rarely, if ever, go anywhere past “hey, this is kind of weird”.
It’s not that the film judges its characters for their sexual kinks: if anything, this is refreshing in its acceptance of everyone’s quirks.
But it never really explores them past the obvious: each story starts out well then stalls before a resolution that doesn’t really resolve anything (though maybe all relationships really do end in either marriage, pregnancy or separation).
It never really digs into what it would be like to have your sexual pleasure depend on making your partner cry, or what it would mean if your partner developed a passion that took them away from you; presumably Lawson didn’t feel he could make that stuff as funny as having Kym Gyngell be a sex offender going door-to-door reporting his criminal record while distracting people from what he’s saying by giving then gingerbread “golliwogs”.
The result isn’t funny enough to cover the lack of insight, or insightful enough to make up for the lack of laughs; it’s a bunch of drawn-out sketches just a little too racy for Australian television.
2.5 out of 5
The Little Death
Australian release: 25th September, 2014
Cast: Josh Lawson, Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman
Director: Josh Lawson