Kills on Wheels

Review by Emily Bray

Directed by

Attila Till

Starring

Ádám Fekete Szabolcs Thuróczy Zoltán Fenyvesi

Anticipation.

What will this film do for the perception of disability on screen?

Enjoyment.

A highly enjoyable and nuanced dark comedy with a satisfying depth of emotion.

In Retrospect.

Just like its characters, this film has been underestimated.

Two wheelchair-user friends are drafted in as unlikely assassins in this clever and moving study of disability.

Proving that less able never means less capable, this dark comedy from Hungarian director Attila Tills’ offers a raw screen portrayal of disability. When two disabled teenagers form an unlikely alliance with a paraplegic hitman, they finally find the adventure that they have long been craving.

Zoli (Zoltán Fenyvesi) is a wheelchair user and Barba (Adám Fekete) has a mild form of cerebral palsy. The two are roommates in a rehab centre. Together they are penning a comic book about a fire fighter who became a paraplegic on the job. Fiction becomes fact when their creation comes to life in the shape of Rupaszov (Szabolcs Thuróczy), who has just been released from prison and finds himself in the employ of the sketchy Serbian kingpin Rados (Dusan Vitanovic). Together with his keen new sidekicks, Rupaszov undertakes the Serbian’s murderous assignments.

The trio are so efficient because no one sees them coming, even when executing victims in public places they are able to slip away unnoticed. The grave underestimation and almost invisible nature of people with disabilities is revealed, as time and again the motley wheelchair bound team are able to roll away from the scene of the crime, entirely immune to suspicion.

The film blends moments of humour – such as Barba’s obsession with applying deodorant (in case he meets some babes) – with the realities of a life on wheels. Attila addresses the implications of a being differently abled, whether it is financial troubles, emotional trauma or even the logistics of sex, treating the protagonists as people rather than the sum total of their disabilities.

The comic book illustrations move seamlessly within the action becoming a prophecy of what is about to unfold, splitting the film into chapters and reminding that the plot comes from the comic book and not the other way around. While the camera angles are often from the point of view of a wheelchair user, ensuring that not matter how exciting the action, we do not forget where the narrative is coming from.

Published 14 Sep 2017

Anticipation.

What will this film do for the perception of disability on screen?

Enjoyment.

A highly enjoyable and nuanced dark comedy with a satisfying depth of emotion.

In Retrospect.

Just like its characters, this film has been underestimated.

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