Not too long ago here at Film Carnage, I reviewed the fantastic short film No Goodbye from writer and director Ludo Vici and he’s back at it with Number 85. Eric, a small gangster, wanted it all and, surprise, he found more than that in a way he never expected. Starring: Detlef Bothe, Chris Janik, Phillipp Künstler, Lavinia Novak and Sandra Steffl.
Number 85 opens on a surprising quote but one that will bring a sly smile to film fans, ‘“I’d like to thank the Academy” – The Narrator – Fight Club’, a cult favourite and an usual but pleasing choice, that opens the film on a strong footing. We witness our lead Eric (Künstler) help captive for reasons unknown, accompanied by a foreboding female voice, a Sigourney Weaver moment, an authoritative vocal presence only to appear on screen in the final reels, in this instance the voice of Steffl. Vici goes in strong again with the air of mystery, offering up little and holding all the cards close to his chest to unfold slowly and hold some surprises in store.
The mystery and sharp visual style reflect his previous work but that is translated into a much different story. This time around there’s a much changed atmosphere, reminiscent of a more PG Mickey & Mallory, a less crazed Honey Bunny & Pumpkin or appropriately a more sensible Tyler and Marla. There’s a quality to it that’s slightly eccentric and energised which is extremely enjoyable to watch, it has its darker moments but it has a heist like air to it, a fun yet dangerous edge. Put simply, it has an undeniable charm that’s a mix of confidence, romance, comedy and action.
When you’ve had such a positive experience as the one you’ll surely have watching Weird Tiny Films and Ludo Vici‘s last short No Goodbye, it’s a difficult act to follow but any potential apprehension should be ignored, this is another brilliant film. It’s too often that a film-maker will repeat their visual and narrative style in a way that is only a few degrees different but here Vici has taken his directorial and writing strengths and translated them into a completely different film, without losing any quality. Number 85 is a fun, clever and slick film, an ode to legendary film-makers like Taratino, Fincher, Stone and Scott.