EX DRUMMER (2007) – The Dungeon Review!
My friend emails me and tells me to check out this flick Ex Drummer. She describes it as follows: It’s a story about a handicapped band that convinces a popular writer to play drums for a battle of the band competition. That makes the film sound like some kind of Hallmark Hall of Fame feel good story! Ex Drummer is sure as shit no feel good story! It is bleak as hell featuring a group of rather unlikeable and unsavory characters. My friend also failed to mention the amount of sex and nudity in the film. Apparently the violence also slipped her mind. The film has a higher body count than a lot of horror films. Speaking of which, Ex Drummer is not a horror film. I watched a few non-genre flicks this weekend and I decided this has enough sex and violence to qualify for a Dungeon review. Ex Drummer is adapted from a book by Herman Brusselmans. I haven’t read the book, so I am unable to comment on how they compare. I found this one a highly visual experience and I’m thinking it could potentially compliment a written story. If you have read the book, I’d love to know how you thought the film compared.
Ex Drummer is a pretty fucked-up film. The guy at my video store said this film was a lot like Trainspotting. I can see the comparisons, although I would say this film is considerably darker, more brutal and definitely more graphic. Ex Drummer is dreary and leaves no hope or light at the end of the tunnel whatsoever. The bands shtick is they are all handicapped, but their minor ailments are the least of the trio’s problems. The bass player is a gay man with mother issues and an insane father that is kept strapped to a bed; not to mention his constantly stiff arm. The guitar player is going deaf and he and his wife are drug addicts living in squalor with a small child. Finally we have the lead singer with a lisp; a dangerous misogynist who regularly rapes and beats up women. I felt empathy and detest in equal measure towards these three characters. This is the trio that present themselves to popular novelist Dries with a proposition to join their band. Dries really has nothing to gain from this alliance other than an experience outside of his cushy reality. A peek at the messy lives of others always comfortable in the knowledge that he can return to his existence whenever he desires. Dries is rich, famous and has a hot wife who likes threesomes. He should blend right in with the trio and their mates! Dries of course agrees and knights the band The Feminists. Dries is as detestable as any of the other characters, maybe more so. He is a repellent, arrogant, heartless bastard. He seems to be under the impression that he is rather cool and is one of the most self-involved arrogant pricks I’ve seen in a film in a long time. For whatever reason he is able to continually force his will on the other band members, why they don’t tell him to go fuck himself is beyond me. I was really hoping someone was going to kick his ass.
Ex Drummer is listed as a comedy on IMDB. I did laugh a few times, but not often. I think some of the laughs were lost on me. I’m not entirely sure what this film wanted to convey. Life sucks and then you die? Being rich makes you immune to punishment? We’ve all lost our way? Don’t do drugs? All of the above? I haven’t a bloody clue. But I can’t say it wasn’t very entertaining. The director uses some crafty techniques that are not only interesting to look at but served a purpose. When we first meet the trio of merry band members the events of their day are shown on rewind. It seemed very appropriate that this group of fucked up souls should be shown going backwards through life. The lead singer who is a violent rapist lives upside-down when he is in his apartment, but right side up everywhere else. He walks about on his ceiling like everything is just fine and dandy. The film is definitely a visual assault. There is a guy in the film nicknamed Big Dick, and you guessed it, it is because he has a huge cock! You actually see penises in this film! You also see sex, I mean actual penetration. And there is gore. Yep Ex Drummer has a body count, blood and gore. It has an amazing and outrageous ending that completely took me off guard. You suspect things aren’t going to turn out well for all parties but it is bloody unlikely you will see this insanity coming!
Excellent visuals and some decent performances made this ugly film impossible to stop watching. Ex Drummer is harsh, violent, bleak, politically incorrect, occasionally humorous, and made me feel like I needed a shower. A film after Goregirl’s heart! Highly Recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Koen Mortier
Starring: Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert, Gunter Lamoot, Sam Louwyck, François Beukelaers, Bernadette Damman