The Death of Dick Long Is Fargo-Esque

Andre Hyland and Michael Abbott Jr appear in The Death of Dick Long by Daniel Scheinert. Courtesy of A24.

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
CAST:  Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Sunita Mani, Roy Wood Jr., Poppi Cunningham, and Janelle Cochrane

A24 Films will release The Death of Dick Long in theaters on September 27, 2019. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.