To say that The Death of Dick Long is reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo wouldn’t be an unfair assessment to make about the film.
Spoiler alert but Dick Long is dead. Okay, so the film gives it away right there in the title. What we know is that Dick died following band practice with Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland). Neither of them want anybody to know what happened to led to Dick’s demise. You might say that the duo are acting cowardly and that’s okay. Even before the body can be ID’d, Zeke’s wife, Lydia (Virginia Newcomb), and daughter can see the looming storm coming in the distance. Zeke, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to come to your senses while you still can!
When Lydia demands to know the truth, it’s as if Zeke would rather not tell her. While their scene plays out dramatically, it’s intercut with the cops learning some information about Dick Long’s death. It’s presented in a way that you can’t help but laugh. The scenes play off of each other so well.
It’s small-town Alabama so naturally, it makes sense to keep secrets to yourself. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh, right. The possibility of spending time in jail? Yeah, I suppose that’s always possible. With everything that’s said around the house between Zeke and Lydia, Zeke has no choice but to explain to his daughter what some of the choice words mean. To be a flaw on that wall!
Daniel Scheinert directs from a screenplay written by Billy Chew. Chew’s script could easily have been written by the Coen brothers. The black comedy here certainly draws some influence from their films.
DIRECTOR: Daniel Scheinert
SCREENWRITER: Billy Chew
CAST: Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Sunita Mani, Roy Wood Jr., Poppi Cunningham, and Janelle Cochrane