Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Deduce You Swine

Deduce You Swine is the Dalton Trebeck children's movie gone wrong. It is fairly early in his direct to DVD era, following his Japan Trilogy: Into Death Us We Kill, Respect For The Mad Buddhist Death (his blood-drenched masterpiece of this era) and A Father's Tale (his warmest film).

Deduce You Swine is set on a farm, which Mr Trebeck, an ex-marine ruined by Oliver North, now runs with his family. Trebeck in this film has a family, a dog, a cat, many other animals, that he talks to in that very smooth, very polite manner. Have you ever seen an action star saying thank you to a pig. If you want to, this film is for you.

The film is directed by Byron Von Tress, a Canadian who started at the same time as David Cronenberg, who made nature films and documentaries before going ultra-right-wing in the nineties and going for action films with apparent social messages, always with a suggestion that if a few capitalists go wrong, most of them are alright. Heart-warming stuff.

The first ten to fifteen minutes of this film is all about the pleasures of farming and family. As this is a thriller, as in all of Mr Trebeck's works, things of course go wrong. Turns out some lying scum want the land for redevelopment. Not the most original plan but it lays the groundwork for a brutal action scene in which Mr Trebeck fights it out with some ex-army guys in the woods, at night. How a scummy land-grabber could afford these guys is ignored. Who cares. Its the best action scene of the film by a mile, topped off when Mr Trebeck is knocked out, dragged back to his farm, has his spine shot through, with threats on his family if he does not sign. He signs. Unfortunately the villains are not played by Trebeck regulars. They area dull bunch through-out. the director seems to think he should make them naturalistic.

Cut forward a year to see blood red images of butchered cattle, in a long tracking shot, camera moving to see a road being built. Yes, this was meant to be a film to broaden Mr Trebeck's range but the director ignored that idea, went for any shot that could show full gore.

We move to town. Mr Trebeck is working as a lawyer's assistant, training to take the bar himself. He wants to make a difference. He works for Gabriel Van Dyke, who plays a lawyer, who's cases appear off-screen always. The next twenty-minutes take place building their characters, showing them with their families, in the community. There is a genuine attempt to build a community in this section. We also see that Trebeck has rebuilt his family, is working against the land-grabbers through the law.

Then the murder plot begins. School-children return home to find their mother's murdered. It's a continuing problem in the community. The police have no ideas and are terrified. Van Dyke and Trebeck investigate, talk to children who have lost their parents, investigate evidence. Slowly they find the killer's MO. It is tied to the scummy land-grabbers but not in the way that is expected. The killer is someone they once employed, who has gone crazy, that they are attempting to track and kill. Why they didn't make it one of the scum is a bit odd, as its confusing when it should be direct, essentially casting an extra as the uber-villain. This guy did hold Trebeck down as he was being shot. Anyway, the motivation is tied to his affection for the Virgin Mary. And purity. It's not really explained.

Dalton faces down the people who ruined his life, refuses to cut a deal with them for his silence, publishes his findings. The killer gets mad. He has turned some kidnapped mothers mad through army chemicals that he stole while in service, is disgusted by their new multiple personality identities but uses them anyway. Sets them loose on Mr Trebeck's family, which is butchered by this vicious lesbian cult dressed as Easter Bunnies. This must have been added during the shoot. Could not have been part of the original plan to expand Mr Trebeck's audience.

Trebeck breaks down for a scene, then another, and another, drinks like he is in the beginning of Apocalypse Now, gets focused, goes to the mall to get some equipment for payback. Trebeck then goes through a suspense scene in the mall, as the scum who ruined him send hired killers at him. Really stupid hired killers who act like bad security cops, get identified, follow Trebeck for about five minutes then get killed. Trebeck has a gun, shoots them as they try to come close, they always somehow near enough for him to take them out at the legs, fall close enough for him to kill them by ripping out throats or such-like. It's a pretty awful sequence, which keeps repeating the same gag ad nauseum, Trebeck having the same angry expressing through-out. Lots of wheel-chair sounds and similar location shot again and again, sequence almost a pulp remake of Wollen's Wavelength.

Dalton then kidnaps one of the scum's wife and daughter, uses them as bait for the psycho and his women. In a very odd finale, the scum land-types and the killer and his women find the location individually, are burnt by acid them tied up by Dalton and Van Dyke in a very long and sadistic sequence. One of the main land-types is last to location, like a coward, is trapped as the location is burnt to the ground. Everyone are horrendously murdered in the fire, including the bait, who could likely testify so have to die.

The coda has Trebeck passing the bar. Van Dyke and Trebeck look around their town, the children playing, seemed determined to protect them. Also suggest they have made some money, are now prosperous.

This is a very odd film that shows signs of much re-writing. There is an insane amount of shots of either children being happy, playing or close-ups of physical torture, which suggests that someone in the production had recently become a parent. The film was meant to start a series, which has not occurred. It was meant to star a different, more thoughtful actor, which didn't occur. It had the last half-rewritten during production, suggesting that people gave up after seeing so many shots of kids and community, wanted some action yet ignored the script as most of the wheelchair action takes forever due to the lead being in a wheelchair. The wheelchair makes the action clumsy always. So its a mixed but very bizarre offering. Very much a cult film.

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