Pushing the boundaries of quirkiness to their absolute limit, Revenge For Jolly is a strange beast of a film.

Part jet-black comedy, part ballistic actioner, part slacker drama and part celebrity cameo-fest, this low-budget effort fidgets its way through an 80-minute plus running time without ever really hitting a groove.

That’s not to say the movie is bad – in fact it proves an easy watch, but you are left wondering just what the makers were attempting to put up on screen.

The film centres on Harry (Brian Pestos – who also wrote the screenplay), a low-life, down-on-his-luck petty criminal whose sole pleasure in life comes from the relationship he has with his small dog Jolly.

After a job goes wrong, leaving him severely in debt to some dodgy types, Harry returns home one day to find Jolly has been murdered – presumably by aforementioned bad guys.

So, and this is where the fun begins, rather than simply weep for his lost pet, Harry decides to arm himself to the teeth and set about wiping out all the bad guys (and plenty of people who aren’t actually that bad).

That pretty much tells you everything you need to know really, and must be one of the most bizarre reasons for a killing spree ever committed to film.

Now I’m sure all of us have had a pet at some stage of our lives whose passing proved an emotional time, but to trigger a rampage is a huge leap and, to enjoy the film, you really need to just kick back and accept the premise.

From there it is episodic scene after scene of random violence and even more random dialogue, as director Chadd Harbold clearly has his sights set on creating a Tarantino-esque adventure following Harry and cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) as they go about their business.

The film meanders through a series of cameos as the likes of Elijah Wood, Kristen Wiig and plenty more turn up briefly to be gunned down – which is pretty enjoyable it has to be said.

Revenge For Jolly’s major sticking point though is that the character of Harry just isn’t that likeable – you are clearly meant to root for him in his thirst for revenge, and indeed do at the outset, but the dialogue and Pestos’ performance constantly keep you at arm’s length, flatly refusing to allow the audience to warm to the character over the course of the film’s running time.

I am also extremely wary of any movie that practically screams ‘this is a cult film people’ in its premise and marketing, and Revenge For Jolly certainly does that.

Harbold’s effort still proves watchable – and the copious shootouts and ‘ooh look it’s…’ cameos will keep you entertained – it’s just not as clever (or funny) as it clearly thinks it is.

VERDICT: [rating=3]

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.