By: Trevor Chartrand
Director Nick Gillespie’s Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a hilarious dark comedy that combines 2019’s Joker with 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite – featuring an inept dancing social outcast who plots vigilante justice. The titular Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) is a troubled man-baby who, despite living with his mother, has aspirations of achieving fame. On his way to an important career-making audition, Paul is delayed by a series of rude and apathetic citizens, who together make him miss his chance at “making it”. Desperate for payback, he concocts a deadly plan for revenge against those who have wronged him.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break has a relentless biting wit, with just the right amount of darkness to make audiences cackle with uncomfortable glee. While the narrative trajectory isn’t very complex, the film will nevertheless take you to places you weren’t expecting to go.
The cast all deliver great comedic timing, with a well-cut pace that rarely lets up. There’s a handheld, low-budget quality to the camerawork that really suits the film, since many sequences are shot from Paul’s own phone as he live-streams his life. As a nice little cherry on top, the synth soundtrack perfectly compliments the movie’s zany atmosphere and tone.
A black comedy that packs some amusing, gore-laden surprises, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break was a great selection to close this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why it won top honours at the festival. It’s ceaselessly fun from start to finish.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Toronto After Dark website.
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