MENKOFF METHOD, THE
David Cork (Lachlan Woods) is a lowly data processor slaving away in the cubicle wasteland of Endo Bank's notorious Data Processing Centre, the DPC. But his real passion is manga. David is obsessed with the superhero Foxy Chaos - and he aspires to meet her creator, Takuya Fujimoro. David's manga dreams are shattered when a sinister Russian HR guru arrives at the DPC. Max Menkoff (Noah Taylor) has big plans and no worker is safe from his "method". Murder, chaos and office zombies take hold! Only David, in alliance with the brilliant and determined Ruby Jackson (Jessica Clarke), can stand in Menkoff's way. But what is the Menkoff Method? And what does it mean for David Cork?
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There is something old fashioned about The Menkoff Method; perhaps it's the strange top & tail narration or perhaps the film's tone of comedic action that is reminiscent of silly comedies of old. The plot is a farcical tale of a Russian HR consultant, Max Menkoff (Noah Taylor), a mix of mad scientist and megalomaniac criminal, hired by a scheming senior exec at Endo Bank's with evil intent. Menkoff is on a mission with the help of his stooges Svetlana (Olga Makeeva) and Karpov (Malcolm Kennard) to enrich himself by taking control of a data processing centre's employees by spiking their drinking water and .... Never mind.
Taylor, all mustachioed up, relishes his dastardly role, although I suspect he would have relished it even more had Menkoff been a dramatic villain, not a comedic one. Lachlan Woods has the hardest role as David, a bit of a vanilla character whose real love is manga ... he is creating one, and it looks great, too. Manga sequences add texture, much like the animation sequences in Look Both Ways (d: Sarah Watt, 2005) did so effectively. Jessica Clarke as the lovely Ruby is great as a sort of Lois Lane to David's bespectacled Clark Kent, and in his mind's eye she is the perfect Foxy Chaos, the foxy manga character who stars in his work.
The mostly hammy performances flatten the film's comedic impact somewhat and lessen the weight of its drama. Perhaps the screenplay doesn't lend itself to being treated otherwise since it is not based on genuinely serious material. Still, credit to director David Parker for some well staged action sequences that would be worthy of a much bigger budget.
The film weaves together its varied elements - from manga to zombie to action - in helter skelter style, although it sometimes loses tension and our interest.
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MENKOFF METHOD, THE (M)
CAST: Noah Taylor, Robert Taylor, Lachlan Woods, Catherine McClements, Malcolm Kennard, Andy Ryan, Brett Cousins, Olga Makeeva, David Whiteley
PRODUCER: David Lee, John Kearney, Jan Bladier
DIRECTOR: David Parker
SCRIPT: Zac Gillam
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Darrin Keough
EDITOR: Amelia Ford
MUSIC: Paul Grabowsky
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lane Whitehouse
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Mind Blowing World
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 1, 2016 (NSW, Vic, Qld, ACT)