The Most Fun You Can Have Dying
Cast: Matt Whelan, Roxanne Mesquida
Director: Kristin Marcon
Fresh from taking the lead as Brad in Go Girls, here's Matt Whelan's latest attempt to conquer the big screen (after the success of My Wedding and Other Secrets).
He is Michael, who has a relatively carefree existence down in Hamilton - he's prone to the excesses of youth - the hedonistic partying, rooting and drinking and not giving a damn about the morning after. He's even happy to cheat on his best mate and steal a quickie with his girlfriend - those kind of naivetes of youth.
But his world is turned upside down when he's diagnosed with end stage liver cancer.
Suddenly, his self absorbed world has an end date on it; his youthful shelf life is brought crashing down around him.
So, when $200,000 is raised for his cancer treatment, in a moment of self calculated selfishness, Michael steals the money and heads to Europe to live life to the full - and with anyone who wants to join him.
Into his life after a beating, stumbles French drifter Sylvie (Mesquida),whom Michael falls for.
But it's not just Michael who has secrets...and the clock is running out.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying starts off with a punky bang and doesn't really let up from there.
For a debut film (albeit based on a book), it's an exciting proposition and Marcon certainly brings some flourish to the table - using European locations to give a Kiwi film a point of difference is one of the best. It's great to see a New Zealand film start off here and head out globally giving it that scope and worldwide appeal that's sometimes lacking in other flicks. It's stylish and got a great soundtrack too as well.
Matt Whelan is mightily impressive as Michael, who chooses hedonism over hellish wasting away; it's a testament to his acting prowess that he imbues Michael with a real watchability and gives the nastier sides of his personality a rogueish roughness which is relatable given his circumstances. Whelan certainly steps up his acting from his Go Girls Brad character. It's difficult as well because it's not as if Michael's a particularly decent chap given what he's going through - sure, you can understand it to a degree but there's only so much terrible behaviour you can forgive.
The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is an admirable Kiwi film - while it's not quite as engaging as it could be, it's cerainly well put together (Europe gives it a great global feel as I've mentioned) and watchable, if occasionally flawed and distant.