Like most movies that we expect to devolve into chaos before the characters we’re watching ever do, “The Death of Dick Long” begins with images of everyday, carefree life involving everyday, carefree people. Three friends shatter the serenity of a quiet rural evening with their rock music – “Pink Freud,” their band is apparently called, a hint at the imitation game the movie will deftly play – and we quickly learn that this, in fact, is what constitutes their serenity.
Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.), Earl (Andre Hyland) and Dick (Daniel Scheinert, also the movie’s director) continue their night with an appropriately obtuse carousel of friendly redneck tomfoolery; drinking, smoking, lighting couches on fire, lighting fireworks from their crotches. They’re somehow able to keep their irresponsibility in check while resembling the kind of infantile thirty-somethings who always luck their way out of trouble. Or worse.
Our intuitions prove fruitful—moments later, they’re speeding—through red lights and through the middle of the night—Dick bleeding from somewhere in the back seat—Zeke and Earl panicking before leaving him collapsed and unconscious outside a hospital. They’re in trouble, clearly, though Scheinert and the film’s writer, Billy Chew, leave it to the audience to piece together what exactly happened to make things go so south so fast, at the same pace that this small town’s small-town police force does, and why Zeke and Earl suspiciously abandoned a third of their trio. Continue reading →