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Dice (TV movie)

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Trying to solve the murder of student Sally Quine in small town ‘Harmony’, Detective Styvesant comes upon a small community led by psychology teacher Glenn Taylor, where decisions are ruled by the throw of dice. As new crimes are committed, Styvesant pursues his investigation while trying to evade Taylor’s games, all along fighting his obsessions and recurring alcoholism, and antagonizing homophobic colleagues.

Callum plays the part of the local innocent (?) loony, Egon Schwimmer, who is one of the dice gambling addicts.



The IMDB page: Dice (2001)

Dice was directed by Rachel Talalay, who has directed several TV series, but more notably had a steady collaboration with Wes Craven (Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and A Nightmare on Elm Street among others), and has been John Waters’ producer (Cry-Baby, Hairspray…)

Based on Luke Rhinehart’s novel the Dice Man, Dice writing credits go to A.L. Kennedy & John Burnside, both novelists, having little or no other experience as scriptwriters.

Dice features an international cast with American Fred Ward, Irish Aidan Gillen (Stuart Jones in Queer as Folk) and English Gina McKee who shares her birthplace with Callum (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England).

As for the Canadians, Martin Cummins has guest-starred in such series as Smallville, The Outer Limits and Highlander. He played along Callum in Painkiller Jane and Dark Angel: Exposure. A few years before Dice, Brendan Fletcher was Des, Little Criminals’ young hero. Mark McKinney from The Kids in the Hall can be seen in Twitch City, Falling Angels, Snow Cake and also in Slings & Arrows. Tracy Wright is a C6D star, having featured with Callum in Last Night, Twitch City, Picture Claire and other numerous C6D productions such as Slings & Arrows, Highway 61, Blindness, Monkey Warfare...



Cast / Characters:

Aidan Gillen
Martin Cummins
Gina McKee
Fred Ward
Brendan Fletcher
Callum Keith Rennie
Tracy Wright
Mark McKinney
Adian Devine
Gary Farmer

Glenn Taylor
Patrick Styvesant
Angela Starck
Gacy/Noah Aldis
Alasdair MacCrae
Egon Schwimmer
Gil
Sam Cutter
Marcus Starck
Ernie Ross



Year: 2001

Runtime: 6x45min (announced) for the original airing, 2x103min for the DVD

Country: Canada/UK

IMDB rating: 6.8/10 (33 votes)

Genre: Thriller

Keywords: | Murder | Gambling | Alcoholic | TV Mini-Series | Gay Cop | Funeral | Psychopath | Dead Girl | Investigation | Dice | Hair



Awards:

Dice received two Gemini nominations in 2002:
- Best Dramatic Series (producers Lorraine Richard, Greg Dummett and Gub Neal)
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role (Martin Cummins for episode #1)



There are no user comments at IMDB. I found one Amazon customer review:

2.0 out of 5 stars - Aidan under-utilized!, 19 Jan 2009

Dice is about a psychology teacher, played by Aidan Gillen. He manipulates people by teaching them how to live by the throw of a dice. Detective Patrick Styvesant (Martin Cummins) is drawn deeper into a bizarre world where decisions are ruled by the dice. Martin Cummin's acting is pretty poor as he plays a drunken cop who stumbles around whilst fighting with his own demons. The plot is lame, the acting is poor and Aidan Gillen is severely under utilized in this role. He came into his own in Queer as Folk and Lorna Doon and Dice is a backwards step. Can, and should, do much much better.




Callum Quotient: 20% (Callum’s scenes are generally short, but spread all over the movie)



Pictures:

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d3.jpg

d4.jpg

Pics courtesy of scriggle




Quotes:

  • Stuyvesant, interrogating Egon in jail: I can do whatever I want to do, Egon. See, down here me and all the other cops do whatever it is that we want to do, we’ve all kinds of fun.
    Egon: I don’t believe you, I was never told about that.
    Stuyvesant: Who never told you? Well, did that anyone ever tell you that staring with this space shit can really annoy the hell out of a person?

  • Taylor to Stuyvesant who’s paying an impromptu visit: I had thought this would be a more relaxed evening but as your mind is on your case…
    Stuyvesant: What do you want me to do?
    Taylor: Search my house, Pat, (kind of offering himself) search it! .../...
    Taylor: …Cold… Colder... Warm.... Getting warmer...
    Stuyvesant: What is it you want me to find ?
    Taylor: Why, me of course !

  • Taylor conning Styvesant to hit him: You’re a lousy kisser.

  • Cops on stakeout in front of Egon’s place: How about we stroll over there, blow our surveillance and charge them with stroking in a creepy manner?

  • Styvesant being hit upon by a hooker at ‘Crazy Janey’: Not interested.
    Hooker: You don’t know me - yet. I have good prices.
    Stuyvesant: I’m a cop.
    Hooker: That’s okay, you got the uniform?
    Stuyvesant: Look, I’m gay. I’m not interested in you because you’re not a man.

  • Taylor: I mean, just because something’s got to die doesn’t mean you can’t be kind. I believe in being kind. And now, for your present…(before kissing Joanna)




Trivia:

  • A sequel was to be filmed in the summer of 2002, but production fell through and it was abandoned.

  • Supposed to take place in the fictitious town of ‘Harmony’, Dice was filmed on location in Montréal and the surrounding area. In an ice skating arena scene, the Montréal city logo can be spotted through the ice.

  • The book Joana is reading before all hell breaks loose in the final arc is Der Struwwelpeter, a popular book for children written in 1845 by a German psychiatrist. A collection of moralistic short stories, aimed at demonstrating the dreadful consequences of misbehavior, the book gets its title from the first story’s main character: Struwwel-Peter, translating to ‘Shaggy-Peter’ or ‘Shockhead Peter’.

  • Dice is loosely based on The Dice Man, a cult 60's novel by Luke Rhinehart, followed by The Search for the Dice Man. Rhinehart is currently trying to raise funds to turn his novel into a film.

  • The Dice Man novel also inspired the Diceman Travel Show, where a journalist and cameraman travel around the world - guided only by the whim of a dice, ‘with no means of transport, just a small amount of money and a bag of essentials’.

  • In Tank Girl, based on the Tank Girl comic book and also directed by Rachel Talalay, the tank has a little dice ornament dangling from the antenna.




Interesting scenes:

  • The first dice session led by Taylor, where we are introduced with the basics of the game.

  • Egon bursting into the police station to confess to Sally Quine’s murder, razor in hand.

  • Taylor buying champagne to Styvesant in a bar to celebrate his success (framing young Alasdair), Styvesant not so sure himself, resisting alcohol’s temptation but letting himself be won over by Taylor’s seductive play.

  • Egon changing personalities - cutting his hair after some razor-licking.

  • Styvesant in a bar, having his first go at dice throwing: should he go home, or should he drink?

  • Egon trying to keep himself in check while a guy’s trying to chit-chat him, until he calmly and softly threatens to kill him if he doesn’t go away.

  • Styvesant drunk, stumbling around in an ice skating arena.




Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?

Overall rating

Fascinating
1(20.0%)
Quite good
4(80.0%)
Can be watched
0(0.0%)
Bad
0(0.0%)
I’ve wasted three hours of my life
0(0.0%)

Violence

None, sweet afternoon movie
0(0.0%)
Nearly none, prime time family show
0(0.0%)
Some, but it’s a thriller, right?
3(60.0%)
A lot: it’s a dark thriller
0(0.0%)
Lots of it, it’s a creepy dark thriller
1(20.0%)

Humor

Comedy gold
0(0.0%)
Aidan Gillen’s quite the comedian in this
1(20.0%)
Mark McKinney’s the comic relief
0(0.0%)
Some dark humor
4(80.0%)
Chilly’s not funny
0(0.0%)

Sexual content

Sex each time a 6 comes up
0(0.0%)
Egon does get some
0(0.0%)
Some naked chicks
0(0.0%)
Some nakedness – unfortunately involving dead girls
1(20.0%)
None
1(20.0%)

Sexual violence

People are too much obsessed with dice to think about sex
0(0.0%)
Dice is about violent murders, no sex involved
1(25.0%)
Markus’s a bit rough to Angela
0(0.0%)
Kidnapped, invalidated and raped, that’s enough sexual violence for you?
3(75.0%)
There’s a rape each time a 6 comes up
0(0.0%)




Egon Schwimmer
Poll #1465166 Egon Schwimmer

Character

Egon ♥ he speaks to birds and flowers
0(0.0%)
He’s always ready to help whenever he can
0(0.0%)
Egon doesn’t know good from evil
0(0.0%)
He can get carried away when he’s not in a mood to socialize
3(60.0%)
He’s evil incarnated
0(0.0%)

How many people does he kill?

Poor Egon wouldn’t harm a fly
1(20.0%)
Flies, maybe not, but he did kill one guy
4(80.0%)
Plus the two chicks from the bar, that makes three
0(0.0%)
Eight, as Taylor’s handyman
0(0.0%)
Ten in ‘Harmony’, three in ‘Hope’, god knows how many elsewhere
0(0.0%)

Craziness

Not crazy, just misunderstood (Egon ♥)
0(0.0%)
He’s less crazy than what he pretends to be
1(20.0%)
Egon’s crazy only when he forgets to take his pills
0(0.0%)
He suffers from some severe mental disorders
0(0.0%)
Crazy as a loon, he’s got more than a hole in his bag of marbles, bats in his belfry and toys in the attic
4(80.0%)

Hotness

Egon ♥ ♥ ♥
1(16.7%)
A real tiger
0(0.0%)
After a clean up and haircut, hmm, very
5(83.3%)
From afar maybe
0(0.0%)
Too crazy to be hot
0(0.0%)

Queerness

He goes with girls only when he’s playing ‘normal’
0(0.0%)
Hair fetichism, plaided pants, bracelet – who are you kidding?
1(20.0%)
He’d rather go to a male hookers club, but there’s none in ‘Harmony’, so...
0(0.0%)
No preferences, provided there’s hair
3(60.0%)
He’s just queer for dice
0(0.0%)




Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? You do know it’s a dark thriller, right? Well, okay then.
(highlight to read)

::He doesn’t. Just ends up in jail.::




Articles/interviews

Dice, by Keith Watson - Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The knowledge that Dice director Rachel Talalay cut her creative teeth working for Wes Craven and John Waters makes some kind of sense of this curiously creepy 2001 TV mini-series.

The mix of surreal camp and hammy horror carries echoes of both those American movie greats. But Talalay seems even more in thrall to Twin Peaks-era David Lynch as she targets the festering heart of secrets and lies suburbia in this loose adaptation of Luke Rhinehart's cult novel The Dice Man.

Set in a hellish vision of smalltown Canada, it tells the tale of psychology teacher Glenn Taylor, an enigmatic charmer whose lifechoices- on-the-roll-of-a-die philosophy soon has the whole town in his grip.

Unsurprisingly, Dice falls short of the sum of its influences. The plot lurches suggest Talalay relied on the die for her editing choices while Aidan Gillen plays Glenn like he's still in Queer As Folk, coming off as smug when he's meant to be charismatic.

It's Martin Cummins as closet gay cop Styvesant who makes Dice worth a roll; his suffering offers a mirror on the shrinking suburban soul.


found here


John McKay, Canadian Press – November 7, 2001

… So, yes, Dice is kinda dreamy, kinda surreal, but also with a contradictory overlay of film noir. It's a bleak and grungy fairy tale. Even the "hero," an alcoholic young police detective played by Martin Cummins, is largely unlikable. The title, by the way, refers not to traditional gambling, but to a mythical role-playing game that was described in a British book and TV documentary. Under the concept, people make a list of six life-altering choices, then roll a die and commit to acting on the outcome. In this drama, someone sinister and inscrutable has come to town to enlist weak-minded residents in the addictive life-or-death game. Soon the whole community seems infected, like a drug or a virus.


Gayle Macdonald, "Slicing and dicing" in Globe & Mail November 12, 2001

… In the television program, Glenn Taylor, a charismatic psychology researcher played by British actor Aidan Gillen, turns the townsfolk on to the wonders of dicing. As they become increasingly obsessed with it -- it spreads like a disease through the town -- more people start dying and turning on one another. Investigator Patrick Styvesant (Martin Cummins) is taken on a roller-coaster journey of self-discovery and self-loathing as he tries to nail the person responsible for the murder and mayhem. Other cast members include Brendan Fletcher (The Five Senses) who plays Quine's distraught boyfriend; Fred Ward (The Adventures of Joe Dirt), a private eye and Vietnam War vet; Callum Keith Rennie (Picture Claire and Double Happiness), a crazed hair fetishist; Gina McKee (Wonderland), the psycho's last victim; and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall), a neophyte who catches his wife in flagrante delicto.

both found here (scroll down to 2001 and then April)


Dice article by Jim Bawden in Toronto Star Nov. 12, 2001

Actor Martin Cummins looks like a lazily sensualist relative of James Dean. There’s that same brooding intensity, the stubble on his chin, the awkward pauses for effect. Then there’s Irish actor Aidan Gillen Queer As Folk, drop-dead handsome but enjoying every minute of his turn as Glenn Taylor, a charismatic psychology teacher who sports boyish charm and freshly scrubbed manners.

By chance, they’re two of the hottest TV actors around these days. And they’re co-starring in the new Canadian-British miniseries Dice, which rolls into view tonight at 9 on the Movie Network. Shot in and around Montreal, it’s a cross between Twin Peaks and Psycho, a tautly terrific thriller set in a small university town where everyone is pretty weird. Cummins (Dark Angel, Poltergeist) is neatly cast as compulsive detective Patrick Styvesant, searching for the killer of pert college student Sally Quinn. The chain of suspects includes Mark McKinney as a very strange salesman of a vacuum-packing service, Callum Keith Rennie as a long-haired freak who lives on society’s margins, Fred Ward as a rumple-faced private eye, Gina McKee as a harassed housewife, and Brendan Fletcher as Sally’s student lover, the chief suspect in the murder case.

"Yeah, it is different,” Cummins says of the show. He’s in almost all the scenes and gets to show his acting chops in ways fans of the TV series Poltergeist could never have imagined. “It was terrific to look up, and there would be Fred Ward in the next scene, and I just like the way he’s handled his career, always going for the unusual. I stayed in the same apartment block as Callum, and we both have pit bulls, and we’d race them around."

"I think I was chosen because of Gub Neal (executive producer),” Gillen says. (It was Neal who picked Gillen to portray the hedonistic Stuart in the original British version of Queer As Folk. “The writing was just so good,” Gillen adds. “I didn’t want it to be tawdry."

Instead, it roared into a huge ratings success around the world. And Neal, then Britain’s Channel 4’s chief programmer, sold the US rights for an instant remake currently being shot in Toronto. Gillen, 33, had never worked in Canada and liked Montreal. It reminded him a bit of Dublin, he says. “Not the architecture, the people.” Since Queer As Folk, Gillen has worked constantly. He co-starred in A&E’s recent three-hour production of Lorna Doone and won awards for the small-budget British film, Low Down. He talked on the phone from London, where he’s starring in a new stage production of Chekhov’s Platonov.

Cummins is Vancouver-based and has already landed his next gig as the resident villain on this season’s Dark Angel. "It’s funny, but after Poltergeist folded I thought I should try LA. And we sold our house and were beginning to move, and this offer came up, and it’s right back in Vancouver. And I think it’s for the best, as my little boy is starting kindergarten." Cummins, 31, has been acting since he was a teen, when he did the rounds of such Vancouver series from Danger Bay to 21 Jump Street. Married to former Baywatch beauty Brandy Ledford, he has already directed his first movie, last year’s We All Fall Down, co-starring Helen Shaver and Nicholas Campbell.


found here


Cummins a High Roller on Dice - Playback, by Noelle Stapinsky, 2002

"He is damaged like all of us. I think he has taken his licks in life and has learned to survive rather than just live. Patrick is looking for something to heal him, whether it be love, religion or alcohol," says Martin Cummins of the police investigator character that has earned him a Gemini nomination for best actor in a continuing leading role on Dice, itself nominated for best dramatic series.

Cummins describes the noir-ish thriller, a majority Canadian coproduction between Montreal’s Cite-Amerique and the U.K.’s Box TV, as a psychological mind-bender between a killer and a detective. The first season of the series (six one-hours) was set in a small, largely deserted Canadian university town, opening with the brutal murder of a young woman. For season two, the setting will move to Star Lake, a fictitious community that holds a fabulous facade of peaceful resident retirees, natives, and gamblers attracted to its native-run casino. But of course, not all is as it seems.
"It’s a wonderfully written script. The characters are developed so well that it’s hard to do bad work," says Cummins, who won a Genie Award in 2001 for best supporting actor for Clement Virgo’s Love Come Down. Cummins also wrote, produced and directed the feature We All Fall Down, about rough living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which also won a Genie.
Dice was conceived by Cite-Amerique president and producer Lorraine Richard and producer Greg Dummett, and scripted by U.K. writers A.L Kennedy and John Burnside. Gub Neal and Justin Thomson Glover of Box TV are the show’s U.K. producers. Cummins says he tends to prefer British programming to its North American equivalent because of its brave content and quality of writing.

The $6-million series was shot in and around Montreal over 45 days through summer 2001. Directed by Rachel Talalay (Touching Evil, Band of Gold), with DOP Jean-Pierre Trudel capturing on Super 16 motion picture stock, the series also stars Aidan Gillen and Gina McKee, Canadians Brendan Fletcher (Turning Paige, Scorn), Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall), sometimes jazz singer Dorothee Berryman and Gary Farmer, and Hollywood actor Fred Ward.
Canadian broadcasters include The Movie Network, Showcase Television, Series+, Movie Central and Super Ecran. In addition to Box TV, foreign investors include France’s TF1 International, which provided a distribution advance. Cite-Amerique International, in conjunction with Box TV and Intermedia, is managing sales in the U.K., New Zealand and Australia.
Dice’s second installment was to go to camera this fall, but has been held up due to the recent amendment to sale-and-leaseback tax-credit regulations in the U.K., whereby copro TV series are essentially excluded in favor of features. Until financing on Dice is finalized, the actual shooting dates remain up in the air. Meanwhile, Cummins says he has read the first five hours of the new six-hour season.

One of the actor’s most memorable - yet least favorite - moments during the filming of Dice was a mishap that led to a head injury.

"It was a scene where Aidan Gillen gave me a shove on a slippery floor. The camera was hand-held and it followed Gillen. I slipped and hit my head on a corner of a table. As I lay there in a pool of blood, someone said, ‘Hey, where’s Martin?’ I had to get four stitches and come back to finish the day. It was pretty funny."

Cummins says acting in features allows him more creativity than TV usually does, but he is lucky on Dice in that the stylistic approach is similar to that of an indie film. Although he has proven he can wear many hats on a project, Cummins remains focused, adding, "I enjoy doing all of it, but first and foremost I am an actor."


found here


Manticore’s New Minion (excerpt)

Martin: It's a six-parter and it has sort of paranormal and psychological bent. It's a story about a detective who's deeply Catholic and an alcoholic and a closet homosexual and he falls in love with a guy who he later realizes is a serial killer. It's called Dice, and it's based on the book The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart. It's some of the best writing I've come across as an actor. It's a great cast -- Fred Ward (Tremors), Callum Keith Rennie (Due South), and Aidan Gillen (Queer as Folk).

found here




Links

Dice has a Wikipedia entry.

There used to be a director’s page: it still links to a title footage and an excerpt from episode 3 (no Callum).

Dice production notes, including an episode guide, can also be accessed using the wayback machine.

Martin Cummins online features a Dice page plus articles in the relevant section (most retrieved above).

You can watch the trailer on you tube, as well as Loaded Gun, a Dice/Aidan Gillen Video.
Also, two excerpts featuring Callum here and here.

Everything about The Dice Man novel and its by-products can be found at Luke Rhinehart’s site.
You can watch some clips from the Diceman Travel Show, the travel documentary inspired by the novel, online.

scriggle posted Dice picspams here, here and here.

c_regalis posted a What are the chances that Leoben turns up with that shirt one day? picspam here.




Availability

The DVD is available here or here for instance.




My final thoughts contain spoilers…

… but probably not much more than some articles above. What is not spoilerish though is mentioning that this is THE movie with Callum having several bad hair days. Maybe it traumatized him enough that now he goads Gunless Paul Gross about it… Still he eventually cuts the hair and as scriggle puts it, he does clean up nice even if he remains crazy as a loon. With the first glimpse of the infamous ball chain bracelet, we know from the start that his character is involved in something suspicious.

Now, let the spoilers begin… bear with me, cause it’s longish.

Lots of voluntary or not references. It cannot not be said that there are strong reminiscences of Twin Peaks (1990), another TV series: the cliche of the rape and murder of a teenage girl as the stepping stone for both intrigues, both set in small remote towns, both featuring a haunted investigator, an innocent boyfriend hiding from the investigation and an abundance of secondary characters, many exuding hidden motives. Rachel Talalay is not David Lynch and Dice is not up to the competition: the subplots do not evoke the same web of mystery, the mysterious lurking characters are not necessary. So, sure there are some clumsy moments, some non sequitur and unanswered questions - did Taylor kill Mark, and how? – the most frustrating being that there is no proper end to the story: the killer escapes and we can imagine that he goes on with his wicked ways with Det. Styvesant tracking him down endlessly. Will Styvesant eventually catch up with Taylor, will he get destroyed by his quest - no clue is given. We don’t know either whether this non-end was voluntary as an illustration of ‘crime wins’, or if it was deliberately left open for a sequel which was planned but never developed.

But Dice has its own fine qualities. It’s got the suspense expected from a thriller, and some scenes are chilly enough that it has also been compared to Psycho. Even after the murder mystery is unraveled - at least for the audience - at the end of the first part, the suspense doesn’t weaken in the second part which dwells upon Taylor’s perverse games and Styvesant losing one battle after the other - against his addiction to alcohol, against the pull of the dice – while he’s chasing the killer. Photography and soundtrack are a distinct contribution to the eerie atmosphere (btw, I still have to find out why the soundtrack’s credits differ between the TV and DVD versions). What basically differentiates Dice from Twin Peaks and makes it an original story is the rationale for the crimes, inspired by Luke Rhinehart’s novel, characterized by a novel’s reviewer as a ‘program of deliberate destruction of the self’. The symbolism of the dice and of the number six pervades the movie, with psychology PhD student Glenn Taylor having pushed this idea to a life-size game which frames his decisions and actions, and in which he involves psychologically unstable individuals, reveling in the spectacle of their dice-driven actions and in his power over them, increasing with their dependence to the dice. There’s most certainly a symbolism attached to the numbers given by the dice: Egon’s favorite is 2, Styvesant keeps getting 4, 6 being expectedly Taylor’s golden ratio.

Interesting also is the use of mirror images revolving around Styvesant - homosexuality with Taylor and Alasdair, alcoholism with Gacy and Markus, Styvesant as a younger Gacy, insanity with Egon Schwimmer (see the mirror scenes of Egon buying a bottle of champagne for a chick at Crazy Janey after writing down his list, while Styvesant orders a bottle of whisky in another bar before writing his own list).

Martin Cummins’ performance is unequal, too pretty and smooth at the beginning to be fully believable as the recovering alcoholic, repressed homosexual, tough-ass cop Styvesant, more evocative of a younger and distracted Colombo, but his credibility increases as he takes more and more figurative and real blows. Styvesant echoes Purple Toast’s detective Tom Struck with his convoluted and hopeless quest paralleling his own path to destruction – just compare the scene with Styvesant stumbling around in the ice skating arena to Tom Struck coming undone in the tunnel scene. Aiden Gillen also develops his impersonation of the psycho as the story unfolds, going from insufferably pompous to terrifyingly chilly.

Fred Ward’s Gacy, the hardened yet soft-hearted private, is rather well-acted. His relationship with Styvesant going from fighting to partnering is an interesting development but turns short when Gacy focuses on cocooning Angela after her ordeal - it’s quite honorable, nice and welcome for Angela, but it’s also Styvesant’s loss. Tracy Wright’s acting as the no nonsense coroner is sober and perfect. (crazy notes: it’s a pity that while Gacy isn’t willing to abandon Angela to marry Styvesant, Gil has sort of given up on him... of course, there’s still Egon - specially as the way things are going, Styvesant will soon be as crazy as Egon is...)

As for Callum, although I would have preferred to see him as the haunted detective - in a more structured remake of his Purple Toast role - I must admit that he flawlessly impersonates the most insane character in his career, jumping from one mood to the other with a dizzying speed, easily shedding his shaggy Peter skin to turn into a smooth womanizer complete with hotness and charm so that he can reach his perfectly crazy goal - the plaid pants and the freaking out in the bar remaining as an indication that Egon still has to hone his skills at playing ‘normal’. And, hotness aside (objectively, I think?), I was more impressed by the second crazy-Egon impersonation, more restrained, craziness just lurking under. Poor Egon becomes a killer by accident, sort of, deluded by the false power he figures the dice have given him.

Talking about Egon Schwimmer, more references…

Just like Dracula’s Renfield (!) is obsessed by eating living creatures in the hope of obtaining their life-force for himself, becoming Dracula’s slave after Dracula offered him an endless supply of food in exchange, Egon Schwimmer is obsessively collecting hair, possibly driven by the mythical force it might provide him with, and depends on professor Glenn Taylor for an endless supply for his obsession. When their creature gets out of control, Dracula kills Renfield and Taylor abandons Schwimmer. Compare Callum’s performance with that of ‘serial madman’ Dwight Frye as Renfield in the 1931 Dracula: "Orbiting [Lugosi’s Dracula] with spastic, leering fireworks…Whereas Lugosi's eyes gleam like marbles in his head, Frye's are whirlpools and the two make the perfect on screen pair - inscrutable monster and insuppressible maniac." If you don’t know the original Renfield, A Poor Lunatic’s Soul – visions of Renfield will introduce you with the basics - and if you do, it’s an interesting gallery of his cinematographic interpretations. Egon Schwimmer and his razor at the police station? Watch the beginning of an excerpt from a Dracula stage play adaptation, where Renfield escapes from his cell and holds Mina hostage with a knife at her neck.

The reference to Struwwelpeter is ironic, as the book’s stories are all moralistic and threatening of a gruesome fate for relatively small mischief whereas Dice psychopathic hero comes out unscathed and free after committing considerably more evil deeds. Which is not the case of Shaggy Peter-Egon.

In short, a brilliant idea, some good acting and an uneven direction, with interesting but rushed subplots and a confusing (lack of) ending. Worth watching all the same, with Callum’s performance as a bonus.

As usual, additions and comments are welcome. I’m curious to hear what other people thought of Dice. Did I see too much references, did I miss any? Callum as Egon?

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
surya74
Oct. 2nd, 2009 07:59 am (UTC)
Wow. This is an awesome write-up, neu (as always). Especially loved your polls and your final thoughts! \o/ I just watched Dice about 2 weeks ago and quite liked it, probably because I'm into the weird stuff. Callum with Wayne's World hair and plaid pants! XD But ooohhhh, does he clean up nicely...

I'm sad I can't do your entry the justice it deserves as I'm about to leave on vacation right now :(
neu111
Oct. 3rd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
And this is a very kind comment *blushes*

because I'm into the weird stuff
I am too :) Talking about weird, did you ever watch Purple Toast?

does he clean up nicely...
He sure does. A real tiger as the other bad-hair guy tells him.

I appreciate that you've taken the time to comment even more. Come back here when you wish if you feel like discussing it some more!
surya74
Oct. 7th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
And this is a very kind comment *blushes*

But true. Your posts are always very thoughtful and dedicated.

I am too :) Talking about weird, did you ever watch Purple Toast?

\o/ I did! I've now watched almost everything except elusive fuckers like Nature Boy. That WAS weird. But the entry here about it helped a lot understanding it.

A real tiger as the other bad-hair guy tells him.

Ain't that the truth. He occasionally has this predatory charm thing going on which i dig. ♥ Plus, there's something about him that's absolutely heartrending which nearly kills me (in a good way).



The title, by the way, refers not to traditional gambling, but to a mythical role-playing game that was described in a British book and TV documentary. Under the concept, people make a list of six life-altering choices, then roll a die and commit to acting on the outcome. In this drama, someone sinister and inscrutable has come to town to enlist weak-minded residents in the addictive life-or-death game.

This is interesting. Obviously I've been roleplay-gaming the wrong systems so far. *g*

Your Renfield comparison is absolutely spot-on. Good catch.
And yeah, I was reminded of Twin Peaks (♥) too. I wonder what David Lynch would have made out of this.
neu111
Oct. 12th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming back!

Your Renfield comparison is absolutely spot-on.
It just struck me when I rewatched it. I rewatched it twice, and more things kept coming up. I would really like to read more about the making of the movie, check if all that symbolism/reference thing was meant, or how, and if there's more...
akamine_chan
Oct. 3rd, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
I haven't seen this, and I'm not entirely sure I want to...*g*
neu111
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Hm, seems I haven't done my job properly? What put you away? Can't be the angst? (though I know you're in need of cheers right now - so, *hugs*) Bad-hair Egon? Watch the second Callum clip, it might reconcile you with him...
akamine_chan
Oct. 4th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
Can't be the angst?

What? I'm a delicate little flower who can only handle happy fluffy stuff. No angst for me. *nods firmly*

I'll have to give it a try, eventually. Just for completeness.

*hugs back* Thanks, m'dear. I need all the hugs I can get lately.
c_regalis
Oct. 3rd, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Martin Cummins... played along Callum in Painkiller Jane and Dark Angel: Exposure.

Ha! That's him. I was watching the Dark Angel ep a while ago, and I couldn't think of where I knew that guy from. (As far as I remember I did check IMDB as well. Huh.)

A sequel was to be filmed in the summer of 2002, but production fell through and it was abandoned.
Hm. I mean, I actually rather like it (after I finally watched all of it a couple of month ago) but, uhm. Was it actually successful? *wonders*

while Aidan Gillen plays Glenn like he's still in Queer As Folk, coming off as smug when he's meant to be charismatic.
I thought so too. He's never, not for a second, charming the audience instead of creeping it out. I thought it was intentional, but it does make the movie weaker that it could have been.

And okay, wow. That are quite some final thoughts here. I didn't see the 'favorite' numbers the characters had, that's interesting. *wonders what it might mean* I did see the mirrors around Styvesant though. That was pretty cool. I like your Dracula/Renfield (!! indeed) analogy. And you even provided links. ♥
The first copy I had of Dice was corrupted. I didn't really mind, I just watched parts of it and the first glimpse of Egon pretty much made me lose any interest I had. Ahem. (You can't blame me for that!) Anyway, like I already said, I watched it again a few months ago, and I was surprised by how much I actually liked it. You are right that's it's uneven, and that Cummins and Gillen both are starting out pretty week. But they are getting better, and draw you in. I had to watch the whole thing in one go, I really needed to know how it ended.
As for Callum, I agree with you here too. I was much more impressed with him in the second part. I wasn't too impressed with the flat out crazy of early Egon. Later on, after the clean-up, he was scarier and you actually felt for him. In the beginning he was just... annoying, really.

Okay, I think that's all I can think of right now. Great write-up! ♥
neu111
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
Martin Cummins in Dark Angel
Hm, and I don't even remember him from that...

Re: the sequel, Was it actually successful?
Probably not in the UK at least, I guess from the lack of reviews. And it seems that they dropped it. Still, I'm curious about what they intended, seeing this one has no proper end to speak of.

Aidan Gillen's certainly more convincing as a creep, à la Anthony Perkins *shivers*

Ha, Renfield! When I started making the analogy, I couldn't let go and found more and more!

And Callum as Egon, yes, I think I see what you mean. I watched Dice before and after writing the post, and nearly rewrote my appreciation of his acting, re: the first part. Which had real good moments (I love the scene in the police station, the dancing on tables, the way he cuts the guy's hand as if he doesn't really mean to, yet he does mean it at the same time - this moment fascinates me; and part of his dizzying changes of expressions) but was probably too much on the whole. But was way less impressive than the second part, where he carries as many personalities, but in a much subtler way *(not so) patiently waits for Shattered*

Thank you! &hearts I'm glad that you liked, specially as you said you'd thought to write it yourself.

hi, Curtis! seems we'll be hearing from you soon, right?


c_regalis
Oct. 8th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
the way he cuts the guy's hand as if he doesn't really mean to, yet he does mean it at the same time
You are right, he was pretty damn good in that scene.

(not so) patiently waits for Shattered*
Well, November, right? I mean, that's when we should get at least some details and interviews and stuff. *waits with you*

I actually just used that icon because of the hair. *g* But yes, Curtis. Soon. I had forgotten how much I love that movie. I re-watched it twice and maybe I'll re-watch again tonight. If I find the time. *beams*
dvldb
Oct. 3rd, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
Hi I'm new to this community. I just recently discovered CKR, which is also why I haven't gotten around to watching this movie yet. I did watch 2 clips on youtube featuring him and it definatly seemed like something worth watching (then again even Code Name the Cleaner is worth watching for CKR). Anyway great post, didn't read all of it cause I tend to try to avoid spoilers but it always amazes me how much work you put into these posts and how much info you find :)
neu111
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Hi! glad that you like! You're right that it's some work to write these posts, but it's fun too. As for spoilers, I think that they're mostly in my conclusion. Hope you'll watch and come back to share your thoughts. It's good to know that the youtube clips made you want to watch Dice - I saw your comment there, so: thanks!

even Code Name the Cleaner is worth watching for CKR
You definitely have to stick around here!
akamine_chan
Oct. 4th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
OMG. ...even Code Name the Cleaner is worth watching for CKR. Aaaiiiiie! My eyes! My brain!

No, not really. People said that about Slap Shot 2 and they were wrong, as well.



dvldb
Oct. 4th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Well I thought that Slap Shot 2 was worth it as well, Code Name the Cleaner is worse.
akamine_chan
Oct. 4th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
Hee. You are obviously stronger than me.
ride_4ever
May. 14th, 2018 12:36 am (UTC)
Wonderful write-up of this CKR mini-series... but alas it has made me aware of this gap in my CKR collection...and when I clicked the "get the DVD" links one led to a "currently unavailable" and the other led to a 404 error on a page written in Japanese. *sigh*
neu111
May. 18th, 2018 08:07 pm (UTC)
Hi! Glad you liked :)
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