Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Double Down Review

You’re always in for an enjoyable evening when the immortal Neil Breen graces your screen. I’d yet to check out his debut feature, his breach into the fold and his first offering to audiences globally. Double Down provides a rare and glorious insight into the mindset Breen brings to the screen. His effective storytelling styles and engrossing abilities in front of the camera are a force to be reckoned with. He presents a cluster of genuine surrealism, and although we know Breen’s work is genuine, this is the closest I’ve come to questioning whether or not he’s in on the joke as well.  

All the expected Breen mannerisms are found in this one, a nice model for the consistency in thematic styles he would later bring. An abundance of broken technology, his portrayal of a lethal hacker striking fear into governments globally, but with a heart of gold and, although acting with the same range as a plank of wood, holds a genuine way with words. All of it is introduced to us with monotonous narration from the man himself, brushing aside the various awards and achievements Aaron Brand has stumbled through in a way that understates the fact he’s wanted by half the world’s governments, and working for the other ones. It’s bizarre, but not worth thinking much of, especially not if you’re Breen, who uses this titbit of information as a backdrop to an insanely poor story. 

But we don’t enter these films for the storytelling merits, that would be a banal response to a unique creative. He’s so specific in the detail he brings to his story. Double Down does suffer a great deal because of its script. Rather than bringing us a narrative of interesting characters and well-paced motifs, Breen relies on a deluge of information in the early moments that just trickles down for far too long. This is information that should be spotted throughout the film, rather than thrown at us in a bundle in lieu of an actual introduction.  

Considering there was no budget, I’m amazed at how functional this film can be. Breen drives along a motorway, swerving and screeching as he tries to eat tuna behind the wheel of his car. His only nourishment hidden in tinned cans, he relies on seclusion and isolation to mend his broken heart. There’d be a lot to unpack if it weren’t empty ideas, the rigmarole surrounding it steals away from anything we could consider to be an actual film. Instead, entertainment can be found when Breen fits a satellite dish to his car and sits on the floor with three computers, intercut with b-roll footage of other men staring at screens. We all spend our days staring at screens, but staring at Breen is sure to brighten the day slightly. Hilariously poor quality, and not at all good. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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