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Quietly mesmerising with moments of bloody violence and a sense of humour that’s deliciously dark and dry. I loved He Never Died from start to finish and am very excited about the mini-series that will hopefully spin from this tantalising introduction.
He Never Died sucked me in. I sat watching with a stupid grin on my face and a deep, satisfying feeling of “I get this.” It’s funny, it’s smart and it’s weird.
It came as no surprise that the role of Jack, the father of murder, an ancient moster who cannot die, was written for Henry Rollins. Writer-director Jason Krawczyk approached Rollins directly to play the role: “I knew [he] could understand the violence and funny part at the same time.” But I think there’s a lot more of Rollins in this role, than just that.
Rollins prepared for the role for 11 months and has thrown himself into lobbying for the following mini-series with the intense fervour he brings to every project.
Rollins, as a person, seems at once both accessible and remote. He’s candid, he blogs incessantly, through his writing and his spoken word tours we feel we know him, intimately. At the same time he is remote, his lifestyle Spartan and inaccessible. He is an outspoken loner, who is always fighting and seems to stand apart from everyone. And he brings that world weariness, that cold detachmemt to Jack.
Jack is quietly mesmerising. He keeps his life small and uncomplicated but in the background his mind is filled with the screams of 2000 years of humanities suffering – no small part of which we can assume was down to Jack himself. He goes to bingo, he eats at the same diner every day and he sleeps.
He also murders people, with the ease and detachment you’d expect from a killer with 2000 years experience. And then he eats some of them.
There is a plot to the movie, involving the arrival of Jack’s long-lost daughter Angela (Jordan Todosey) who is promptly abducted by mobsters. Jack enlists the help of Cara (Kate Greenhouse) a waitress at his local diner to help rescue his daughter.
But the plot really only serves to develop Jack’s character. He Never Died is our introduction to Jack, its all about him. And Rollins carries it perfectly because it’s his role.
Jack is tired of being alive but he can’t die. He is resigned to dragging himself through life, finding a little peace where he can. Killing because he has to. He is disconnected from humanity. His approach to dealing with people is to give them money. People seem to like money. If you give people enough money they will do what you want or go away.
Angela and Cara provide the human element in the movie. Both actresses give great performances, they provide a heart and soul to the action.
There’s a little bit of a foreshadowing and mystery in the movie to build excitement for the miniseries. Most of this centres around the old man that only Jack can see. The old man is Death – and my guess is he turns up for the death of the mob boss not because he is important but because his death marks an important moment for Jack. A turning point where he finally has acted out of care for another person – his daughter. That’s my theory any way.
He Never Died is dark and funny and smart. You really should go see this movie. It’s great. And probably not like anything you’ve seen before.