Signaling a new low in post-modern smug superiority, "Ex Drummer" tries to pass off contempt as comedy and slanted lensing as creativity. Picked up in Rotterdam by Wide Management, the pic will find defenders, but wise fests will steer clear.

Signaling a new low in post-modern smug superiority, “Ex Drummer” tries to pass off contempt as comedy and slanted lensing as creativity. Commercial helmer Koen Mortier’s feature debut wades into foul waters with gleeful disdain and yet presents his vile characters as if they’re quirkily appealing. Based on cult writer Herman Brusselmans’ novel, the film tells of three violent lowlifes in provincial Flanders entering a rock band competition, though the concert is dull and the music uninspired. Picked up in Rotterdam by Wide Management, the pic will find defenders, but wise fests will steer clear.

Derisively billed as handicapped, the three musicians are Koen, with a lisp (Norman Baert); Jan, with a bum arm (Gunter Lamoot); and Ivan, going deaf (Sam Louwyck). They approach famous writer Dries (Dries Vanhegen) to accept the drummer position, though the fascistic Dries can’t really play, and accepts only to further degrade his cohorts, now called the Feminists. It’s moot to call “Ex Drummer” homophobic since it’s scornful of everyone, though it saves an extra degree of loathing for women. Upside-down shots might seem clever in 30-second commercials, but don’t equal originality in a feature.

Ex Drummer

Belgium

Production

A CCCP production, in association with Czar Group, Quad Prods., Mercurio Cinematografica. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Eurydice Gysel, Koen Mortier. Executive producer, Ruben Goots. Co-producers, Nicolas Duval, Luca Fanfani. Directed, written by Koen Mortier, based on the novel by Herman Brusselmans.

Crew

Camera (color, super 16-to-35mm), Glynn Speeckaert; editor, Manu Van Hove; music, Millionaire, Flip Kowlier, Arno, Guy van Nueten; production designer, Geert Paredis; costume designer, Catherine Marchand, Ann Lauwerys. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 27, 2007. (Also in Gothenburg Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival -- market). Flemish dialogue. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Dries Vanhegen, Norman Baert, Sam Louwyck, Gunter Lamoot, Dolores Bouckaert, Jan Hammenecker, Wim Willaert, Francois Beukelaers, Bernadette Damman, Barbara Callewaert, Sebastien Dewaele, Tristan Versteven.
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