Let’s just ignore the fact that I Against I is a truly horrible (and vaguely nonsensical) title, as plenty of decent films have been burdened by rubbish names. Sadly though in this case, the title isn’t any better than the film.
Ian Drake (Kenny Doughty) finds himself massively in over his head when he’s accused by hardnut Joseph Carmichael (Mark Womack) of killing his criminal underworld kingpin father, Tommy. Joseph offers Ian a possible way out, giving him 12 hours to kill a man called Issac (Sigurosson). Unbeknownst to Ian, Issac could also be the murderer, and he’s out to kill Ian. As the two men try to track each other and get their respective jobs done, the situation becomes ever more complex and they begin to suspect they may have been double-crossed, but why?
There’s a lot of potential in I Against I and the makers have obviously been studying their gritty thrillers (the press release for the film says it ‘takes its influence from the 80’s and 90’s films of Ridley Scott and Michael Mann’), but they’re rather let down by the script. The hope seems to be that you’ll just be carry along by the plot twists, double-crossing and grim action, ignoring the fact that it’s all actually pretty silly. The characters are constantly doing things that allow the plot to move forward but are actually pretty dumb and not very well thought out.
Part of the problem is the blankness of the characters. There’s very little to the main people in the movie, which makes it extra difficult to believe in what they’re doing. Ian Drake is presented as a bit of an everyman character, presumably so he’s easy to empathise with, but the actual result is that his actions seems fairly arbitrary and plot-driven, rather than doing what would make sense. Isaac is a more intriguing character, but again there’s not really a lot to him.
The lack of characterisation isn’t helped by some cringe-inducing dialogue. Some of the exchanges would seem weak if offered in a Screenwriting basics class. By the point a character accidentally mentions a character’s surname, revealing they know more than they’re talking, we’re in the territory of clichés so old they’d have seemed hackneyed when the Lumiere Brothers set up their first movie cameras.
In many ways it’s a shame, because as mentioned there is potential. The cast is pretty good and Kenny Doughty is an effective choice for the lead. It all looks pretty good and there are some real moments of tension in amongst its gritty, underworld shenanigans. Unfortunately it’s all undermined by the assumption audiences will ignore just how nonsensical, overly complicated and ultimately purposeless the main plot is.
Overall Verdict: Some good direction and decent acting can’t hide the fact I Against I is pretty silly and with its characterless characters, doesn’t really make much sense.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac