Killed the Cat — review

Screenplay by Bertie Gilbert.

With Killed the Cat, I can now tell you that Bertie Gilbert is potentially the lovechild of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. And that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, you only need to follow Gilbert’s tumblr. to see how much he loves Anderson. And, like Allen, Killed the Cat attempts to answer and solve the presence of life’s big questions with comedy.

We begin with three escaped mental hospital patients, and what follows is their journey through the town, intercut and complementing one of the patients’ anecdotes of the events that transpire. Like Cosmic Divide, it’s a manipulation of time and space, with what we see being determined by what we’re told, with information about the facility being revealed through the telling of the anecdote. And yet, unlike Cosmic Divide, it comes to twenty-minutes long, due to the number of characters and details that need to be revealed. It’s those details that make the story, with the patients’ thoughts and actions giving us an insight into how people think, how these characters think, how Gilbert thinks the characters think and how Gilbert himself thinks. That’s a big, complex web of thought there, but it’s true, and it’s those complexities and layers that make Killed the Cat an artistic success.

Ultimately, it ends on an interdetermined note. John goes for a (surprisingly sexy) clothed-swim in the sea, leaving his companion on a rock on the beach. The third member of the group decides to return to the facility, recalling what happened to the other escapees and why she decided to return. There are hints of her desire to leave throughout the journey, with her criticism of theft making her a hypocrite for later stealing something herself, only to then abandon it for no longer desiring it. She wanted to know how it felt to steal, but having done it ultimately didn’t feel as interesting as wanting to do it.

And yet, her context of it only called it theft because that’s what everyone else calls it. She preferred to think of it as just not paying for something, with other people exchanging items for money because that’s just what everyone else does. Which makes Killed the Cat an analogy. It even opens with the definition of “analogy” – “a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification”. The telling of the story is an analogy of the story, while the story explains the meaning behind the reason the story’s being told. There’s lots of causation between each half, and it makes the literal journey a psychological journey, but both are of discovery. They discover what the real world is like, and whether it’s that interesting or not, and the conclusion she comes to is that it really isn’t, but discovers how society would view her as a result of her opinion of it, despite not actually considering herself to be of any fault. And so, that further ties-in to its status as an analogy for also telling us more about ourselves; just because most of us consider society to make sense, that doesn’t mean everyone thinks it does. But they’re not bad people for that, and yet, they should still be isolated from society. It’s an interesting ethical debate, and not something Killed the Cat gives you an answer to – it just lets you decide what to think yourself.

Also, the penultimate shot really made me laugh.

Killed the Cat – superb accomplishment, explorative without pretentiousness (8/10).

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