What do you do if you’ve attempted to kill yourself seven times, ten if you count the cries for help, but each one has been unsuccessful? Some might call it a day, others, might look to the world of outsourcing.
William, Aneurin Barnard (“Dunkirk“, “SS-GN (TV)”), is a young-man who believes he has nothing left to live for. A struggling writer, he’s had many, many failed attempts at suicide and, as we meet him, is stood on the edge of a bridge in central London, about to throw himself into the cold, murky waters of the Thames.
He is however, interrupted by a mysterious stranger called Leslie, Tom Wilkinson (“Denial“, “The Beautiful Fantastic“), who wants to watch, and then hands William his business card, should he need anything in the future.
Another failed attempt later and William finds himself sat in a café opposite Leslie, thumbing through a brochure on how he wishes to die, for Leslie is an assassin. Death in a week, or your money back.
What follows is an hilarious course of events as Leslie, close to retirement and close to being forcibly retired by his boss Harvey, Christopher Eccleston (“Doctor Who (TV)”, “Thor: The Dark World”), attempts to see-through the contract on William, whilst William suddenly doesn’t want to die after meeting Ellie, Freya Mavor (“Sunshine On Leith”, “Modern Life Is Rubbish”), who wants to publish his book on suicide.
Written and directed by Tom Edmunds (“Is This A Joke? (Short)”) and exec produced by Stephen Fry (“Duck Duck Goose“, “Bones (TV)”), Dead In A Week is a fantastic, darkly funny film with plenty of emotion too.
Barnard is perfect as William, his complexion sheet-white and his sunken eyes, his demeanour reminds me of Elijah Wood in many respects and he plays the role in a similar fashion.
Mavor too is superb, this down to earth, no-nonsense woman who has connected with William’s book as she herself has attempted suicide in the past. I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing much more of Mavor in the future.
Then we come to Wilkinson, a legend of the TV and film world, he plays Leslie with a slight touch of menace, but mostly he’s the devoted wife to Penny, Marion Bailey (“Allied“, “The Lady In The Van”), striving to keep her happy as she enters the regional embroidery competition, determined to win out against the usual woman who wins.
He supports her to the hilt, all whilst he’s going through his own crises of confidence. Can he still be a hit-man at his age, has he still got what it takes, should he just retire as everyone is telling him to and take the carriage clock?
Dead In A Week: Or Your Money Back is a delightful, dark, funny comedy that, forgoing special effects, car chases and brawls, is still eminently entertaining and pretty moving too.
Fans of classic British humour will love it, whilst it isn’t quite up to, say, Martin McDonagh’s writing, it shows plenty of promise that Edmunds could be on his tail in movies to come.