Dir.: Attila Till; Cast: Zoltan Fenyvesi, Szabolcs Thuroczy, Adam Ferkete, Monika Balsai; Hungary 2016, 105 min.
Phantasy and reality coalesce in director/writer Attila Till’s (Panic) feature Kills on Wheels, where a disabled trio become successful serial killers, using their wheel chairs as a perfect camouflage. Casting aside taste and political correctness, Till unleashes his mayhem with tongue firmly in cheek.
Two disabled teenagers, Zoli (Fenyvesi), suffering from a spinal deformity, and Barba (Fekete), who has mild cerebral palsy, share a room in a care home where they are working feverishly on a graphic novel in which they overcome their disabilities and excel as heroes. Into their lives comes ex-fire fighter Rupaszov (Thuroczy): who looks like a grizzly bear and seems ill-fitted to his wheelchair. Straight out off jail, he is working as a hitman for a Serbian gangster. Rupaszov employs the boys as helpers, but his Serbian master asks him to kill them, getting rid of witnesses is his code of survival. Rupaszov nearly follows through, attempting to drown his helpless victims, before having second thoughts in this raucous comedy that is Hungary’s hopeful in next year’s Academy Awards.
There are two sidelines in the narrative: Rupaszov had a relationship with a nurse, who is now getting married, the ageing ex-fire fighter making a fool of himself at her wedding. Whilst this strand is well integrated, Till’s attempt at seriousness sits rather uneasily with the audience: Zoli needs a life saving operation, and his mother (Balsai) is willing to get the money from her divorced husband, Zoli’s father, who left soon after his birth. Not able to cope with a disabled child, he fled to Germany. Whilst his mother pleads in vain with him, Zoli would rather die than ask his father for anything. Luckily for him, the trio is getting more and more successful in their chosen profession…..
This rowdy and often violent caper is carried forward by the two disabled teenage actors Fenyvesi and Ferkete, imaginative images supplied by DoP Imre Juhasz. One of the assassinations on a beautiful square in Budapest is choreographed in the style of a ballet for wheelchairs. The Hungarian title means “From the button of my heart”, referring to the coming-of-age aspect of the narrative. Whilst everyone wants to see the disabled being more integrated in society, the choice of their liberating profession is somehow embarrassing, even though the merging of the graphic-novel into real life takes some of the sting out of it. In spite of its originality KILLS ON WHEELS is slightly repulsive, since the use of violence, however ingenious, is disturbing, relegating it the to the curio status – not withstanding its success at the Hungarian box-office. AS
NOW SCREENING AT LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 5 – 16 OCTOBER 2016