Combustible Celluloid
 
With: Elijah Wood, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Simon Chin, Ona Grauer, Ryan Beil
Written by: Toby Harvard, based on a story by Toby Harvard, Ant Timpson
Directed by: Ant Timpson
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
Running Time: 93
Date: 02/07/2020
IMDB

Come to Daddy (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Pop Notch

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Exceedingly, ridiculously violent, this darkly comic thriller explores various codes of masculinity, both honorable and bizarre, but it also packs quite a few wild surprises into its outlandish story.

In Come to Daddy, the strange, oddly-dressed Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) arrives in a remote seaside area, seeking a tucked-away house. He has received a letter from his estranged father, inviting him to visit. A grizzled man (Stephen McHattie) answers the door, and the reunion doesn't quite go as expected.

Their interactions are strained and threatening, and then, while initiating a fight, the older man dies of a heart attack. Alone with the corpse, Norval drinks and talks to it, and begins hearing noises. When he discovers a photo album, showing pictures of his mother and father, and then a secret passage leading to a hidden room, he realizes his troubles are just beginning.

Written by Toby Harvard and directed by Ant Timpson (based on a story by both), Come to Daddy begins with the odd image of Norval, clad in ill-fitting, futuristic fashions, and claiming to be "in the music business," casting him as the opposite of an older generation of manly-man. The old man responds by asking if Norval has ever been in a fight. He hasn't, but his chance is coming.

Without giving away any of the story's reveals, the conflict in Come to Daddy involves killing all the members of a gang of men in the name of doing the right thing and protecting Norval's mother (who is never seen). Most of the trouble comes when a particularly vile villain, Jethro (Michael Smiley), who carries a flaming crossbow, gets away.

Norval follows him, but he makes a stop to spend some time with a prostitute who strangles her paying customers. The only other woman in the cast is a kind coroner (Madeleine Sami) whom Norval drunkenly calls and awkwardly propositions. In the end, secret bonds between families, and between fathers and sons, seem stronger than any gory violence.

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