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Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel) – Film Review, London Film Festival 2016
Premiering at the London Film Festival later this year is the dynamically titled Kills on Wheels from Hungarian writer & director Attila Till. Till brings us a comic book film like no other, showcasing the story of two unsuspecting heroes thrown into the thrilling underworld of crime and villainy, forced to become something more.
At least that’s probably story our two leads Zolika (Zoltán Fenyvesi) and Barba (Ádám Fekete) would tell in the pages of their independent comic book they’ve been painstakingly working on together. While both were wheelchair bound from birth, and in some respects were obviously severely limited in what they could do, that would normally be enough to set the tone for the type of film you would be about to watch. Yet Till swiftly skims over the more grounded issues they have to deal with daily and instead just chooses to focus on the more extraordinary things they do to pass the time. Giving us a genuinely funny, yet still earnest, insight into what they have to deal with when they begin to tackle the world outside of their therapy centre.
More in line with a coming of age comedy, Zoli and Barba, with ‘help’ from their disillusioned, paraplegic hitman associate Rupaszov (Szabolcs Thuróczy), they take steps to move out of their comfort zone and live life to fullest. Drinking, partying, meeting girls…selling drugs, aiding in hits, covering up murders, and making money by any means possible to say the least. So yes, things do escalate one thing after another, the point of ridiculous implausibility but Till manages to capture the refreshing humour to be found watching these two overzealous and naïve, wheelchair bound young men, being involved with the same calibre of high stakes drama to be found in a Tarantino film.
And yet on top of all of this, and despite the constantly mounting poor decisions of our young leads, there is still a heart to this film. You’re always rooting for them to succeed because ultimately, everything they’re doing is to create a better quality of life for themselves by using the money they’re seeking out to fund much needed medical help. And not to forget, with all of this happening around them, they’re still planning on completing their original comic book and submitting it for a competition. Even Rupaszov, the hitman with a heart of fools gold, has an arc in the film that paints him in a sympathetic light. Unlike Zoli and Barba, he’s at the other end of the spectrum having almost giving up hope of a normal life, doing whatever it takes to merely survive day by day. He’s slowly warming up to their influence on him and he grows into somewhat of a better mentor figure as the film goes on. Yes he’s still a hitman, but like any filmmaker Till tries to to make care about why he does what he does. Even if what he does is morally questionable.
The film will hopefully be released internationally over the next year, but it will no doubt be limited to select independent cinemas due to the language barrier and requiring subtitles to enjoy. I can’t imagine an audience being disappointed after watching something like this. It blends a lot of popular film genres, packaging a tried and true film formula, but by merely taking on a personal perspective that Hollywood films don’t really have much interest in exploring, it’s comes off as new and original in the ways that you wouldn’t initially have expected to love.
Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel)