|Plot Outline: Reno Miller is a man clinging to a shoe string; living in his New York apartment as an exceptional painter with his two girl friends Carol and Pamela with a number of mounting problems, particularly their attrition of money, lack of support from his art dealer coupled with the pressure of completing his current painting, the heavy bill to pay with poverty looming over their backs, the non-stop practices of the new punk band downstairs…the list of problems just goes on for Reno. Under this sort of pressure, there seems to be no way Reno can ventilate his emotions, much less direct his anger. That is of course, after Reno starts to fulfill his new found infatuation, for after helping Pamela drill a hole in one of the doors, Reno gained this hidden desire with drills…so much to the point that he slowly begins to lose his mind from the pressure and begins burning out his rage by using the power drill on the local street paupers. But how far will Reno go once his problems reach their negative zenith?|
The audio quality in the movie was just about average, as keeping the volume too low makes lighter toned dialogue sound like murmurs and keeping it too high might throw you back into your seat (unless you have a stable surround sound system so that not every word is channeled in a seemingly singular solid direction). The soundtrack was interesting enough to keep the audience somewhat drawn in as we get a few synthesized tracks that reflect Reno’s drilling sprees with some industrial sound pounds and an almost Jaws/guitar-twang feel to it, teeming with some tribal chase-inducing drumbeats. The punk band contributes to the audio and soundtrack as well, as the sound of the band practicing and playing on stage sound raw enough to emit the feeling of actually standing in front of the band in a stuffy closed up room, the bass lines and heavy voice of the singer over the microphone and the drum beats throbbing against your body and banging against your ears, making their incessant role in the movie boost up enough so that the audience sort of feels for the struggling Reno (I should know; I used to have a band playing my garage). The cinematography was quite effective in the sense that even the most candid and obvious continuity lags are forgivable, seeing how well they actually adhere to the unfolding of events. Reno continually watches the winos outside his apartment from time to time like a hateful cruel reminder of the results of his artistic failure; that he could end up just like them. The use of occasional hallucinations and dream sequences as well as the use of Douglas Metro’s paintings in Reno’s apartment all contributed in the artistic form of the movie, as well as the all time favorite reoccurring red theme which would all contribute to the foreshadowing violence ahead (the reoccurring image of Reno being sprayed with blood was dirty enough to keep me in awe). The acting, for the most part was average, but highly down to Earth as the characters were all brought into light with the actor’s dialogue and actions (Pamela actually reminds me of a punk girl I know today), the bums Reno runs into are all highly believable and well improvised and of course Abel Ferrara starring as the main character was quite a treat, bringing his anger and depression to the screen with personally lucid sharpness.
Driller Killer has a lot of style to it any way you look at it. There were various scenes that just made the movie feel greater than it already is, such as when Reno is presented with a dead rabbit for dinner and as he dresses up with lipstick and lingerie before going on a new drilling spree. Although I did get a little tired with the incessant band as we received various shots of them just being their annoying and intolerable selves (when they weren’t inadvertently bugging Reno, they bug the audience for reasons I don’t think Ferrara ever listed) and some of the drilling scenes might have needed a little more work in the process of creativity (what? No throat impaling?), they all contributed in the line of producing succinct grueling effects as well as some fun-with-drill-bits, so either way, the drillings were pretty cool. I found it hard to find something not to like about the movie as it said something about the human mind, how it can bend around circumstances until it wears out, as well as just about every theme within the movie being hard not to ignore. The poor bums might not have deserved the deaths since no one wants to live on the streets forever, but that is exactly where the ending of misery pops into the film, as well as the character’s cleverness, taking his anger out on those not as missed in society as others would. As a striving literary artist, I found the film’s theme of failure of artistic success being sparred with someone else’s annoying yet more successful art form to be as equally and personally powerful; it’s one of the cruelties of life and society that director Abel Ferrara has used in his work that applies so well in the Driller Killer. It’s violent, gritty, personal and enriching…check it out.