You can tell Robert Partridge is crazy because he sets his alarm clock for 6:07 in the morning. The problem is, his alarm goes off a minute-and-a-half into I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday, and there’s still 102 minutes to go.
It doesn’t take much longer for co-writer-director Durden Godfrey (Manson Lane 2018) to tip his hand: Robert’s preferred soundtrack for the Monday commute is Alex Jones raving about a world gone bad and, even worse, a world gone censored. When his barista gets a frustrated pat-on-the-back from his overenthusiastic boss, Robert asks him why he didn’t just tell him off right then and there. Because, the barista reminds, that’s his boss. Robert stares at him like a wounded dog that doesn’t know it’s dying. He buys a single cup of coffee with a $100 bill, tips the barista 14 cents and tells him to write something down: he’s going to kill someone this Friday.
Despite marketing it as a Hitchcock story shot with Kubrick style, I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday plays like an American Psycho for the #MAGA age.
Robert, played with squirming intensity by Tom Siedle (Frankenstein Therapy 2016), is an upper-middle class ad executive with a nice house, loving family, small coke habit and big chip on his shoulder. He’s openly hostile to almost everyone he meets, but nobody seems to mind. He’s abusive, plain as day, but nobody confronts him about it. He screams at his dad, not for making his son watch Trump coverage on Fox News, but for showing generosity to a homeless man in front of him.
There’s a sickly appeal to watching a broken soul like Robert unravel, but he’s already unraveled by the time we meet him. From day one, he sees jump-cut visions of a little boy, birds flying backwards and extreme-closeups of nondescript gore. By Friday, he’s still seeing the same thing. He does eventually hallucinate a goat, but it feels more like checking a low box on the list of Creepy Things That Crazy People See.
It doesn’t help that the central mystery – who is he going to kill on Friday – never feels all that important despite being the promise of an impending murder. The possible victims range from a lying cokehead pedophile to a woman who chews gum too loudly, more caricatures than characters. If any of them got more shading, more of the humanity that Robert so blatantly lacks, I would’ve been sitting a little closer to the edge of my seat by the third act.
As it stands, IAm Going to Kill Someone This Friday plays like an uneven early draft of an idea that deserves further digging. The political hints at Robert’s descent are promising, but eventually undone by someone else’s late game attempt at an act of violence far more befitting of Robert’s profile than their own, if they’re even hints at it at all. Robert’s visions are shot with the color and composition of faded dreams, but they grind against the overcut scenes in his reality, where screen direction and geography change from shot to shot in ways likely unintended. There’s a steady supply of twisted angles, stuttering edits of silent screams and flashbacks occasionally choked with VHS static, but all its sinister ambiguity seems in service of.. .sinister ambiguity. At its best when it belongs in a neon cathedral, the score pushes the tension, but exhausts it long before the week is over.
It may be an ambitious labor of love from a capable cast, but if I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday is truly about Robert’s psychosis, it could be about fifteen minutes shorter. If it’s about the suspense of a title, it should’ve spread those 103 minutes around a bit better.