Jim Hosking, though only really creating two films, has one of the most unique voices in cinema. The filmmaker, who crafted the insanely brilliant movie The Greasy Strangler, has a brilliant and vivid imagination. The British director is daring to push the boundaries of dark comedy, digging under the skin in a squeamishly succulent way.
His follow up to The Greasy Strangler is the wonderfully bizarre and greatly realised An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn.
Lulu Danger is in a rut. Her own husband, Shane, has fired her and she spends most of her time wondering what could’ve been. Home alone, Lulu finds an advert for an old flame and he is performing near her. Pushed by the hi-jinks of Shane, Lulu decides to kidnap a hapless hit-man named Colin and run off to a hotel with bundles of cash in order to see the titular Beverly Luff Linn. But will he be happy to see her? And are there other forces keeping them apart?
There’s a continuation of The Greasy Strangler humour as your enter the world of Beverly Luff Linn. A lot of this relies on the delivery on the dialogue, which is a brilliant combination of deadpan and hysterical. The stilted flow of weird phrasing, awkwardly placed pauses, and moments of pure lunacy come from passionate players. Highlights include Craig Robinson, who’s dialogue mostly consists of grunting (and, well, farting,) and Emile Hirsch overtly expression-filled Shane Danger. There is a whole collection of actors that greatly populate this film with their distinctive performances.
Jermaine Clement is well versed in this kind of humour. Similarly to his character in Eagle vs Shark, Clement’s simple yet well-meaning Colin is terrific has he tries to woo Lulu after falling in love with her. He’s great to watch alongside Aubrey Plaza and their verbal ping-pong match and chemistry (certainly carried over from their indelible pairing in Legion,) are insatiable to watch.
Which brings us to Plaza herself. As the lead Lulu, Plaza is simply superb. She is able to take you from lofty aloofness to intense emotion in seconds. There are always sparks lighting behind her eyes as the turbulent emotions rage inside Lulu. Plaza is able to bring Hoskings brand and then some, adding yet another memorable character to her impressive back catalogue.
The eighties feel of the film gives the film a lush and great aesthetic. The hues of pink against the stodge of brown create this glorious period look that fleshes out the characters and also makes it striking to look at.
I feel remiss in saying that this film will polarise people butin many ways, that’s true. Hosking’s writing and his direction is bristling for some, enjoyable for many. And whilst I don’t think everyone will come out of An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn satisfied and hungry for more, those who click into Hosking’s eschewed and devilishly delightful darkness will have a delicious time. Unpacking his particular breed of nastiness and mirth, Jim Hosking’s work here is a fun ride.
You must see it immediately. Immediately. Immediately. Immediately. Immediately.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn plays at Sundance London Film Festival!