Fans of the Dude will tell you: you’re living in a world of pain. This explains the title WORLD OF HURT, not to be confused with THE WORLD’S END, WORLD OF WARCRAFT or THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. The British film – a comedy without many laughs, except if you think a droll voiceover with a foul-mouthed vaguely Australian, or rather ‘Ash-tray-lian’, drawl is funny – is nominally a pastiche of film noir. What do I mean? Well, it’s in black and white with a jazzy soundtrack. There are tilted angles, heavy shadows, shadowed heavies, femme fatales, mysterious envelopes and, as you’d expect, aliens. I mean alien, there’s only one of them, a short bloke who looks like he’s escaped from the Blue Man Group with chopped-off horns like Hellboy as a kid. That’s a reference to a famous Hurt for ya.
Richard Hurt (Nick Bridge-Butler) – his friends call him Dick and, no, the jokes don’t get any better – is a private investigator who gets a call in the middle of the night. It’s always the middle of the night in capers like this. Blindfolded he is driven to a mysterious mansion and meets Mr Fox (Richard Lintern) who hires him to keep an eye on his fiancé, Nadine (Aisling Knight). She’s an improbable sort of woman who appears to be a dominatrix in a chambermaid’s outfit. She steals an envelope from one of her customers. Hurt follows her to an ex-army base, where he catches sight of two mean heavies and a little guy. Shutter-happy, he draws attention to himself and is shot at. Having escaped, he stops his car and witnesses a UFO with a penis-shaped set of lights in its under-carriage. Subtle this film is not.
At the start, I was quite prepared to like writer-director-editor Simon Richardson’s film. It had titles that paid homage to the late Maurice Binder; these only deserved points for chutzpah. Richardson does at least use his independence to make the sort of film that defies genre. But it also defies entertainment; the screening I attended haemorrhaged journalists and those hardy souls who stuck it out missed the post credits coda involving a snooker match. Fellas, you didn’t miss much.
So Dick swears a lot and spouts clichés. He’s seduced by Nadine who hires him not to follow her - £600 plus bonuses. I kept waiting for him to be given a scratch card. But why does Dick keep seeing his late girlfriend, Sophie (Kirsty Mather)? Why does he keep popping pills so much?
The best bit features a Welshman and a Russian heavy who form the kind of double act you’d only see on BIG BROTHER; they are totally random. There’s a fight scene in a rehearsal space which is the nearest the film gets to leaving film noir behind; a man castigating a pop band seems to have strayed from a different movie altogether.
Dick becomes the subject of incriminating photographs and is brought before sleazy nightclub owner, Mason (Adam Lewis) who auditions strippers. What follows is an entirely offensive joke about hiring an overweight girl - truly rock bottom, as the Welsh say.
There is a fairly convincing finger prosthetic as well as a nod to REPO MAN or KISS ME DEADLY, if you prefer – ‘don’t open the trunk’ – though it is not thermonuclear in nature.
The kindest thing one can say about WORLD OF HURT is that it is like a short film extended to a feature. There’s an interlude involving the smoking of a rather large roll-up, which suggests what was ingested during the making of the film.
WORLD OF HURT gives self-funded movies a bad name. It has insufficient wit. If I’d watched it in a festival of student films, its natural home, I would have smiled. In a commercial environment, it simply irritates. File under movies to watch only after the director has made more accomplished efforts.
Reviewed at Soho Screening Room Screen 2, D’Arblay Street, London, Tuesday 8 October 2013