Could almost be a social commentary on a lonely London life with added grisly bits
- Tony review by RP
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You rated this film: 4
It's a low budget Brit serial killer film. Err, that's it...
Except that's not 'it' at all - this film is very impressive indeed and just shows what can be achieved by talented actors, director and photographer working within a very limited budget, reputedly £40k. Yes, it's short (70+ minutes) but it crams in so much humanity (can one say that about a killer?) and the run-down areas he frequents that in a strange way is quite moving. The tagline 'London serial killer' has been added to latch on to the 'horror' market, but it's not really a horror film, rather a character study of a disturbed, sociopathic loner.
I had recently seen 'Hyena' (which I can also recommend) made by director Gerard Johnson and with Peter Ferdinando and looked for other films with the same team, and found 'Tony'. Peter Ferdinando is very convincing in the lead role as Tony Benson, a rather pathetic lonely man, living alone in a barely-decorated flat in a run down tower block. His only interest seems to be watching old 1980s 'action' films on videotape (Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme etc). He has no friends, no family (some unspecified abuse is hinted at) and is unable to interact with people, reduced to approaching strangers and striking up random conversations. He wanders the run-down streets of Dalston / Hackney / Poplar carrying blue plastic bags - which, it turns out, contain assorted body parts that he is dumping in the river. Because when he takes a dislike to someone he kills them and cuts them up, leading to a few grisly scenes. The victims are strangers who he has invited (or in the case of a TV licence inspector, entered) his lonely flat - and his lonely life, then offended him. And in a grim reference to the Dennis Nilsen case, when the bad smell in the flat is commented on, tells them that it's 'the drains'.
Tony lives alone, wanders the streets alone (there's lots of walking - although quite why he has to pass Kings Cross from Dalston to get to his flat escapes me...), drinks in pubs alone, goes to a gay pub (the now-closed 'Joiners Arms' in Hackney Road) alone, goes to a prostitute and asks for a cuddle. It's a bleak, lonely life, and leaving aside the 'killer' bits, could well be taken as a social commentary on certain aspects of London life.
The acting throughout is really good, but other than Peter Ferdinando the only 'name' actor to appear is Neil Maskell, who has a small part as a Jobcentre employee.
It's not a film to watch with your granny, there's lots of f-ing and blinding and the aforementioned grisly bits. But I rather liked it - 4/5 stars.
[Aside: the feature length film is derived from an earlier short, which is included on the disc]