Double Down is probably the greatest film ever made. Seriously. Except for maybe Neil Breen’s other films. Using no small amount of stock footage and free-use music, Neil Breen manages to capture a nightmarish, tortured reality in such a way as only the greatest of filmmakers could ever hope to achieve. Neil Breen stars in this tour de force of cinematic surrealism as a man (who has a credited name but it really doesn’t matter) who is cursed with nearly omnipotent abilities. Cursed because he is trapped within a world of obligations and contradictions that bind him in an insane existence of loneliness and desolation.
First, a couple of general points. For starters, I find it interesting that, like programming, one can use variables to describe Neil Breen’s films generally, with the specific values for those variables being dependent on which particular film is being discussed. E.G. “Neil Breen’s Supreme Breeing” describes or applies to the character played by Neil Breen in every movie he has ever made. “Evil corporate bosses” and “corrupt government politicians” are also variables which get recast in each of his films. I also need to mention here that this review will be chock full of, well you can’t really call them spoilers because you can’t really spoil a shitfest like Double Down any worse than the Writer/Director/Producer/Caterer/Star/etc already did, but I will be talking about specific plot points (well, again, plot isn’t exactly a word you can use in relation to Double Down, but you get my drift), scenes, etc so if you haven’t already seen Double Down and don’t want to hear about it first, go watch it NOW and then come back and continue reading.
In Double Down, Neil’s superhacker Supreme Breeing is the greatest human ever. He was the best in college and the best in the military before becoming the best intelligence agent ever. “Hell, [he] invented half the systems. The secret systems.” From his “simple, brilliant setup”, he controls orbiting government and military satellites. This simple, brilliant setup consists of some seemingly bricked laptops he keeps in the trunk of his car, along with a satellite dish he regularly visually observes (because, apparently, he can see the data being beamed into space) as he types commands on his powered down (likely broken) laptop – he’s so powerful he doesn’t need to turn the damn things on to use them. (Also in said trunk is a God-awful amount of spent tuna cans – I can’t imagine what a trunk full of tuna smells like after forever in the desert.)
BTW, Neil’s Supreme Breeing lives in the desert. (I presume this is because it is cheaper and hassle-free to just film there instead of having to get permits to film anywhere someone would notice you filming.) And he sleeps face down on the rocks next to his car…
Backing up a bit, The Supreme Breeing once loved a woman, but she got shot. In the back. While he was holding her in his arms. In a pool. That they then float facedown in in a masterstroke of cinematic Breenius that is symbolic (because it certainly can’t be literal.)
The world Neil Breen transports us into is filled with evil people. Like our world is, so realism there. Luckily, unlike in our world, Neil Breen’s Supreme Breeing is around to fix things and turn bad into good. Except, unlike in later films, here in Double Down The Supreme Breeing actually starts off as a morally ambiguous Breeing who causes as much mayhem as he resolves. He hasn’t yet learned to master his super powers. For instance, he seems to enjoy toying with the intelligence agencies before giving them the goods on the bad guys and, although he can hack into the government’s secret systems with ease, he at one point carelessly abducts and drugs the wrong couple from a wedding chapel (I guess cause he’s just not that into his work sometimes and bothering to verify the visual appearance of his targets would require skills beyond even his). He also kills a lot of fish.
Fortunately for all of us, however, he mostly does good, such as when he finds a flaw in some satellite orbital calculations and uploads the patch to the satellites. What a swell guy! Oh, and he (well, almost) cures some girl of cancer. I don’t know who she is, or how that pebble cured her (almost), or what the hell magic rocks have to do with his super hacker abilities to manipulate world governments and militaries, but that is the Breenius of Neil’s films… Like a boss, he (s)mashes genres until you can’t identify what the hell is left.
Let’s back up a minute, because this needs more discussion. An old man is sitting in a cave in the desert. Neil comes across him whilst, well, who the hell knows what, he’s just wandering around in the desert like usual when he stumbles across this old man. Who kinda looks like a terrorist, but that’s irrelevant. Until The Supreme Breeing declares out of the blue: “Old man. You don’t look like a terrorist to me.” Yeah, actually he does, but whatever. So The Supreme Breeing hobbles up some rocks on his way to no where as usual, when the Old Man stirs and The Supreme Breeing turns to look back at him. Then the Old Man falls down and dies.
But before he dies he hands The Supreme Breeing a magic pebble (or just a piece of shit rock from the surrounding landscape). He declares The Supreme Breeing “The Chosen One” and departs the film as pointlessly as he entered it.
So, with magic prop in hand, Neil, I mean The Supreme Breeing, is eating dinner later at some house we have never seen before with some people we have never met before. And don’t expect to get introduced to them either. Neil wants us to work out their identities or relevance to the film for ourselves. So, anyway, they’re all chatting away when Neil The Supreme One basically orders their young daughter to get him some water. Okay… She asks her parents permission to get him some water (who are these people again?) because this is normal behavior across the nation’s dinner tables… When she leaves to get The Supreme Breeing some water, her father explains to Neil The Supreme One that she has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. Ouch. She comes back with the water and creepy Neil, with sacred choral music gently caressing our ears, places his hand on her head and gazes at her for some long uncomfortable time and then says (full pompous ass mode): “No, thank you.” The implication is that he, magic pebble in hand, just cured her of her brain cancer. Later he gets a phone call that implies he did in fact NOT cure her of brain cancer. What in unholy hell this gibberish is doing in the film or what it is supposed to mean is for us to figure out, I guess.
So, to continue with our programming analogy, some (s)mashed up pseudo-code (of about equal caliber to the plot of Double Down):
WHILE $film IS NOT YET FINISHED:
- Lots more running up and down rocky hills in the desert.
- Some unexplained gibberish about bad guys and evil plots.
- More stock footage.
- Neil Breen shouting in anguish in the middle of the Godforsaken desert.
- loop ad nauseum
I’d like to say Double Down leads somewhere but it doesn’t. There is a plot to kill the electric power supply to the Las Vegas strip for a month or whatever. And, stupider still, there are deadly *diversionary* attacks launched on NYC, professional sports stadiums, et al to distract from the main event. Of depowering the Las Vegas strip for a few days. Because in someone’s mind (won’t say whose, but Neil Breen wrote, edited, directed, produced, starred in, catered and cast this friggin mess) that sequence of events makes sense.
Double Down does lead to some surreal imagery however. My favorite scene may be where superduper satellite hacker Neil The Supreme Breeing makes a conference call (to the heads of the FBI, CIA, and a bunch of other VIPS no less) by holding two flip phones in one hand and a third flip phone in the other. . . .
I swear to God.
You’ve gotta ask yourself at some point: what the fuck is this guy thinking? Did he at any point look at the results with a critical eye? Did he really take a look at this film or any scene therein and say “Yeah, that’s good. I like that.”? And yet, watch the film yourself and see if you don’t find yourself falling in love with the complete trainwreck of style and substance that is Double Down. The dreamlike quality of the film traps your consciousness and ensnares you into this sick, inescapable realm of utter pretensious bullshit that, for some reason, you don’t ever want to leave. The thrill of living vicariously thru The Supreme Breeing is such a rush up and down your spine that you find you just want to watch it over and over again until your life is as meaningless as any of the cardboard cutout characters that populate any of Neil Breen’s films. And, most important of all, the knowing that The Supreme Breeing’s judgemental eye is cast upon you always is such succor in a world of corporate greed and corruption, a world where national, and international, systems are set up against the people. Or some gobbledegook. If you don’t believe me, ask these people: IMDB.com
Here’s the kicker. Does Neil Breen know how good he is? I mean, think about it. His films are cinematic comedic gold while also uplifting the spirits of the downtrodden cubicle dweller or cafe barista. The moral clarity imparted upon the viewer cleanses the soul while the complete fuckupery of the technical aspects cleanses the sinuses and eye ducts. Who else in recent memory has created such consistently shit productions that nonetheless spellbind audiences whenever they stumble across his films?
There is a scene where Neil The Supremity stops by a rest station in the desert and, after a horrible cut (there is one building and one desert – how do you screw up the cut so bad?) reemerges in different clothes. He lives in his car in the desert but stops by a rest room to get changed? Is he too embarrassed to get naked around himself? (Actually we learn early on this, unfortunately, is not true.) His astounding accomplishments and technical prowess are intimidating, but come on. He probably took a shower, but seriously this scene belongs on the cutting room floor.
Does the above paragraph seem out of place in the grand scheme of this review? Good, get used to it. I’m priming you for the scatterbrain randomness of Double Down. Now, go! See it. Write me if you survive.