Come to Daddy (2019)

Director: Ant Timpson.
Starring: Elijiah Wood, Michael Smiley, Martin Donovan, Stephen McHattie .USA. 1h 33m

There comes a time in anyone’s life when they get a pang of nostalgia and have to find their roots, discover what kind of stock they have come from. Sometimes it’s just to determine medical symptoms and at other times it’s to find out where we are down the big line of success or fuck ups. Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy is such a journey but one that no one could have predicted.

At first glance it’s easy to assume that’s going to be laid out in this funny drama, Norval (Wood) turns up to a strange house built on the shore, cobbled together with a retro twang and set in the hard to reach wilderness. His pilgrimage to meet his estranged father has come to fruition but his father isn’t quite what the lost boy was hoping for. McHattie plays the man estranged from his family for over 30 years, a canteros drunk with a hot temper and the two clash, with ??? trying to connect and hitting a brick wall. After some hard discussions and strained bonding the film starts to lul a little, Norval seems to have strange day dreams about his father causing him some harm but they flushed away when he finally comes back to reality, but his day dreaming bears some concerning arguments to a dark future.

Wood’s approach to this role of a privileged young man who’s attempting to impress the lost role figure in his life is really profound. The ultimate literary Hipster with “that” haircut and his 1 of 20 gold plated phone, he attempts to impress his father with his success stories of being head hunted by Elton John but this movie isn’t about who you know it’s about what you do in the spur of the moment as the pace changes after a sudden tragedy. Timpson sets the reunion at a slow pace in a seaside leisure palace, made up as a 70’s style man cave set along a gorgeous coast, Norval describes the place as a unusual UFO, lit up with seasonal lights, deep shag orange carpets and wood paneling, it’s quite a sight, but in the later half of the movie when a strange hitman (Smiley) turns up seeking revenge and the truth is thrust upon the audience and Norval a like, the mood and atmosphere shifts, things begin to play out in real time.

Semen contains more protein and nutrients than an ear.

Dealing with grief is one thing, trying to grieve for a father that you never knew is another but Noval tries his best to keep a shit together until the world is suddenly sweat from under his feet again and through bizarre turn of events he soon fighting for his life against a deranged hairy Irish man. He discovers the dark secret as to why he managed to have such a privileged life the history and mysteries behind both of his parents and some of their associates and then end up paying for the sins of his father.

Any sense of normality is a distant dream now, young Norval is thrust into a world of neon lights, pain and swingers, but he faces this challenges with some energy but Michael Smiley really owns the final act. I’ve never seen so much of him outside of a Ben Wheatley movie and he really is a treasure nailing a difficult character and the insane night of barmy funny action, he’s both chilling quite funny and so sinister ploughing through America with a flaming crossbow and having questionable encounters with Crumb-esque women he’s a true psychopath.

Timpson adds his homegrown humor throughout the production, I find that the long-lost Brits from down under have and equally dark sense of humor, finding a chuckle in the least opportune moments. But in all this family bonding and the huge revelations there’s just one thing missing, and that’s Mom. She plays such a pivotal role in everyone’s life, but the most we perceive of her are a couple of one-way telephone calls, her invisibility raises a few questions but doesn’t deter from the excitement from this batty man (mis)adventure that is surprisingly easy to get into and is both thought provoking and highly entertaining.

Rating: 7/10

Related: This Must be the Place (2011),
Lists: Sins of the father, neon films, Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone
Spotlight : Elijah wood, Michael Smiley

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