Tarantinoesqe was the word given to a slew of crime films that hit screens following the success of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction in 1994. Some of these movies were well made (very few though), while others were pretty terrible (the vast majority). Revenge For Jolly comes along 20 years too late – but it would definitely belong in the terrible column for Tarantino knock-offs. Nothing about it works – and to make matters worse – it’s morally deplorable.
Brian Pestos plays Harry, a lowlife who goes on a rampant trail of revenge when his pet pooch is murdered. He joins forces with his cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) to find the animal’s killer, whilst leaving copious amounts of collateral damage in their wake. Sounds fun – it’s not.
Revenge For Jolly isn’t half as witty or offbeat as it thinks its is. You can see the machinations behind Brian Pesto’s script and what he’s trying to do but he fails in a spectacular fashion. Along with aping Tarantino, Pestos and director Chad Harbold also pay ‘homage’ to Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. However, what they believe to be wacky is simply whack. The major culprit for all that is wrong is Pestos. He’s not a very good actor or writer – two major handicaps when you’re the star and writer of a movie! The film begins with a woeful voiceover delivered by Pestos that belongs in a substandard student film.
Revenge For Jolly has an impressive list of supporting players, with the likes of Elijah Wood, Adam Brody, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig and David Rasche (brandishing his biggest weapon since Sledge Hammer!) all making an appearance. However, they’re given precious little to do. Usually when a bunch of famous faces make an appearance in a film like this there’s an impressive cameo, a scene chewing moment – not here. These roles could have been played by anyone.
On the plus-side, Revenge For Jolly has a pretty neat score and Oscar Isaac puts in a decent performance. However, the rest of the film (characters, plot and direction) are so terrible that there isn’t much to recommend. Skip this and watch Pulp Fiction again instead.