Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dead Weight Movie Review – Love in the Time of Infections...

Runtime: 89 minutes
Release Date: March 30, 2012
Rating: ?
Director: Adam Bartlett and John Pata

Charlie and Sam have the perfect relationship, or so it might seem on the surface. When Dead Weight starts, Sam calls Charlie at home and asks if he saw the news. She then guesses that he's actually sitting around reading comic books instead of doing something productive, since it seems like that's all he does. Charlie flips on the news and hears of a deadly infection spreading throughout the country. It hasn't yet hit his hometown of Toledo, but it has hit Sam's current town of Milwaukee.

The film then jumps an unspecified period of time into the future. Sam now finds himself traveling across the Midwest with three other men and one woman. He frequently thinks back to his time with Sam, which gives us a better glimpse of their relationship. We learn that she originally moved to Milwaukee for a three month internship that turned into a job she took without talking to Charlie first. Despite the two having some serious issues, he only cares about finding his way back to her.

Along the way, Charlie and his group encounter a number of problems. They have a hard time finding food anywhere, aren't sure about shelter, and frequently wonder what will happen next. Three men approach them and attempt to kidnap the only female in their group, which ends badly. They also meet a nice couple with no ulterior motives, but when that couple reveals to Charlie what happened to the town where Sam went, all bets are off.

Dead Weight does a really smart job of bouncing back and forth between scenes of Charlie and Sam in the past and his current location. In a Momento-like twist, the film tells the story of their relationship backwards. We start out seeing him visit her in Milwaukee the last time, and we then get to see his first visit, how he learned about her job, and at the very end, we even see how they first met.

This should make us care a lot about the two characters as a couple but things hit a little too close to home at times. Sam occasionally comes across as if she doesn't care about Charlie as much as he cares about her. She shows clear signs of disliking his lifestyle, as in the way he slacks off at times, and she doesn't seem happy that he's perfectly content to spend the day reading comic books and watching television while visiting her instead of going out and exploring the town on his own. I don't know about you, but if I was in a new city where I knew no one except for one person, I'd probably want us to do things together instead of spending hours wandering through the city on my own.

Maybe if I cared more about that relationship, I would care more about Charlie's journey. As it stands though, Charlie is one of those characters that you really can't care about. The choices he makes and the things he does are completely unforgivable. He even seems to change the way he thinks and acts. He goes from doing whatever it takes to save a girl from being raped, but he then completely deserts that woman in the middle of nowhere and does something pretty bad before leaving her. He justifies his actions by claiming that he does it to get back to Sam, but it really just seems like he's searching for something to hold onto and that makes him go a little crazy.

It's not your typical zombie/infection movie either, namely because we pretty much never seen any zombies. There's lots of talk about infected people, but we never see a single one until the last few scenes of the movie. Most of the film follows the same four people traveling around and looking for food and flashbacks of Charlie and Sam.

While there were some scenes and moments that I truly liked, Dead Weight didn't really feel like a horror movie. It felt more like a sad love story between two characters who really didn't belong together. Though I did feel tempted to shed a few tears at the very end, it just left me wishing that the two shared some better chemistry and had more of a connection that would have left me caring more about their future.

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