Sometimes just having a love of classic cinema isn’t enough to sustain an entire film, especially when the one you hope to create is a wordless epic that’s greatly indebted to some of the greatest filmmakers of all time. The dull, repetitive, and drab looking AKP: Job 27 certainly wears its influences on its sleeve from Melville to Refn to Malick to Wong Kar-Wai, but it’s the perfect example of someone who can show a fundamental understanding of the filming techniques of those vastly better filmmakers while missing the point entirely of how they can connect to an audience or tell a story. It feels like a lower grade student film all the way.
A Yakuza hitman (Tyce Phillip Phangosa) travels to Toronto to complete his 27th job, and he begins to strike up a relationship and friendship with a prostitute (Roxanne Prentice) that reminds him of a love he once had.
And that’s pretty much it for almost a full and wordless two hours. The very concept of filmmaker Michael Suan making a modern silent film falls flat almost immediately since the film seems more in love with how cool and stylized it is than in trying to create emotion, tension, or anything more than just a thumbnail of a story. It’s frustrating and amateurish, but not without a sense of artistic ambition. It’s one that can never hope to be reached, but it’s definitely there. If Suan had turned this film and what he learned about technique into a thesis paper, it probably would have been shorter and a heck of a lot more entertaining.
It also doesn’t help that while Suan is trying to create something more in line with the romantic storytelling ideals of the French New Wave or the surrealist leanings of Seijun Suzuki’s Nikkatsu efforts, he’s also adding fake, unconvincing grindhouse effects that even YouTubers have long since abandoned. He also doesn’t seem to understand that simply showing something beautiful (like a girl twirling in a field) isn’t enough to offset acts of violence. In order for that comparison and contrast to work, there’s has to be a reason to care either emotionally and intellectually and outside of just guessing at who Suan is trying to emulate at any given moment, it’s an impossible task trying to get invested.
The only person who gets out of this one with much of anything worth praising is Prentice, who is genuinely trying very hard to make the material work. Everyone else founders since Suan seems way more focused on the look of the film instead of helping his cast to tell a story.
It feels like a student film in every possible way; like someone simply learned all they wanted to about their favourite filmmaker and what makes those people cool without having any grasp over the actual reasoning behind the art. As far as these kinds of films go, I’ve seen far worse, but since films this bad rarely get theatrical releases, that only makes AKP: Job 27 stand out like even more of a sore thumb.
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