THE DARWIN AWARDS
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Joseph Fiennes as MICHAEL BURROWS
Winona Ryder as SIRI
Created by: Finn Taylor
Studio: Icon Entertainment
BY KEVIN CARR
We’ve all heard about The Darwin Awards – an annual award bestowed upon people who remove themselves from the gene pool by either killing themselves or sterilizing themselves in bizarre ways. Now, they’ve made a film out of it.
“The Darwin Awards” follows an ex-profiler named Michael Burrows (Joseph Fiennes) who is trying to get a job with an insurance company. He’s trying to prove that there’s some way to profile utter stupidity and include that into the risk fact for insurance. He’s assigned to a cynical and bitter adjuster (Winona Ryder) to do his research. As they get on each other’s nerves, Burrows starts to take on traits of those he is studying, which somehow lead him to solve the unsolved murder case that got him kicked off the force.
The biggest problem with this film is that it tries to take on too much. I was hoping for a film about the recipients of the Darwin Awards. While they’re in there for several stories, the movie is more about Burrows trying to remotely solved a murder back home. This culminates into a strange path to beatnik society in San Francisco, contributing to the randomness of the plot.
Fiennes and Ryder have decent chemistry, but they aren’t given a very strong script. And once we start to get into their characters, we’re taken on a divergent path to follow Darwin Award cases for 10 to 15 minutes. If writer/director Finn Taylor could have made up his mind about the movie he was making, it would have held together better.
The DVD includes a making-of featurette along with individual interviews with the director and a half-dozen cast members.