The Death of Dick Long
|The Death of Dick Long|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Scheinert|
|Written by||Billy Chew|
|Edited by||Paul Rogers|
The Death of Dick Long is a 2019 black comedy-drama film directed and produced by Daniel Scheinert and written by Billy Chew. The film stars Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Roy Wood Jr., and Sunita Mani. It premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2019, and was released by A24 on September 27, 2019.
The film begins with friends Dick Long, Zeke Olsen, and Earl White carousing: playing loud rock music, shooting off fireworks, and pulling pranks on one another. The night turns deadly serious when Dick ends up sustaining severe injuries and his friends dump him in front of an emergency room. The cause of his wounds is unexplained.
Earl returns to his home and loads up his truck with several of his possessions, telling friend and casual love interest Lake that he has to leave town for a family emergency but rather than skip town immediately, he briefly attends a shift at his warehouse job.
Zeke gets a shower and quietly sneaks into bed, fooling his wife Lydia into thinking he had been asleep. She asks him to drive their daughter Cynthia to school. He agrees and when Lydia asks him for some cash, he inadvertently pulls Dick's wallet out of his pocket: he and Zeke took it off of him as he laid unconscious. He takes out the driver's license and puts it on the counter and quickly gets Cynthia down to the garage. Before they leave, he realizes that his backseat is covered in blood and he covers it with a sheet.
As the two men begin their day, Dr. Richter—the physician who discovered Dick lying outside the hospital where he works—calls the local police department. The man has died overnight from severe anal wounds and he suspects that there was a sex crime involved.
Zeke stops off at a gas station and inside the store, Cynthia interacts with Officer Dudley. As the child tells her that her father found a wallet that he should return, Zeke notices that the blood in the backseat has soaked through to Cynthia's dress. He runs inside to keep the police officer from seeing and gives her the wallet. The two quickly leave and Zeke calls Earl to tell them that they have to meet immediately.
Earl arrives at Zeke's house where Cynthia is upstairs bathing: the two attempt to scrub the blood from out of the backseat and Earl takes the girl to school in his truck where he briefly speaks to Dick's widow Jane who doesn't realize her husband is dead. The duo eventually decide to dump the evidence in a river and walk away, with the cover story that the car was stolen.
At the police station, Sheriff Spenser enlists Dudley to help her with the murder. Lydia hears gossip that someone was murdered and calls Zeke in a panic; that night, she is flustered and afraid for her safety. When Zeke tells her that their car was stolen the night before, she insists on calling the police and Dudley and Spenser arrive to question him. The interrogation is brief: forensic analysis is complete on Dick's body.
Cynthia overhears Zeke's lying and mentions how he drove her in the car that morning. Lydia tells her to go watch television and confronts Zeke about these inconsistencies, demanding the truth. Zeke breaks down and tells her that Dick is dead. She is shaken and asks for details. Zeke confesses that he, Earl and Dick all had participated in zoophilic acts for years, and Dick died from having had sex with Dick and Jane's horse Comet. Lydia is disgusted and demands that he leave.
He goes to a local bar to meet Earl and becomes resolved that he will not run away. Meanwhile, at the police station, Dudley and Spenser agree to return to the Olsens' and to inform Jane of what has happened to her husband.
At Jane's house, she walks to their stable to find a drunk Zeke shirtless. She asks him what is happening and if Dick is having an affair. He reassures her that he is not and the duo walk back to Zeke's house where Dudley has recently arrived. They all sit at the dinner table where Lydia and Zeke's stories spiral out of control until he blurts out that Lydia had nothing to do with what happened and he runs out of the kitchen. Dudley follows after him and Lydia tells Jane to stay so she can explain.
Zeke has gone to the stable to free Comet and begs him to run away as Dudley arrests him.
The next morning, Dudley and Spenser walk to the site of the ditched car and the sheriff explains that Zeke has been released. Dudley is incredulous but her boss explains that these charges would only cause more harm, ruining the lives of Cynthia, Jane, and Lydia. Zeke wanders away from the police station to Cynthia's school in time to catch the end of her piano recital. Lydia briefly confronts him and tells him to get out of their lives.
That night, he is dropped off at a motel where Earl and Lake have a room. Zeke asks what Earl's plan is for his complicated lie and how the three of them will survive. Earl shrugs, says that he'll come up with something, and starts playing "How You Remind Me" on his guitar.
- Michael Abbott Jr. as Ezekiel "Zeke" Olsen, a friend of Dick Long
- Virginia Newcomb as Lydia Olsen, Zeke's wife
- Andre Hyland as Earl Wyeth, Dick and Zeke's friend
- Sarah Baker as Officer Dudley, a relatively inexperienced police officer
- Jess Weixler as Jane Long, a schoolteacher and Dick's wife
- Roy Wood Jr. as Dr. Richter, the physician who discovers Dick
- Sunita Mani as Lake Travis, Earl's friend
- Poppy Cunningham as Cynthia Olsen, Lydia and Zeke's daughter
- Janelle Cochrane as Sheriff Spenser, Officer Dudley's superior and mentor
- Daniel Scheinert as Dick Long
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 73 reviews, with an average rating of 7.16/10. On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100 based on eight reviews. Writing for The A.V. Club, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky gave the film a B−, favorably comparing it to the absurdity and grotesqueness of Swiss Army Man, saying the tone "falls somewhere between irony and sincere fondness".
As the death of the titular character is due to internal injuries sustained from intercourse with a horse the film evokes a parallel to the real life death of Kenneth Pinyan, an engineer who worked for Boeing and resided in Gig Harbor, Washington. Those events were wildly reported by The Seattle Times as the Enumclaw horse sex case.
- "The Death of Dick Long". Sundance Institute. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "The Death of Dick Long (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- "The Death of Dick Long (2019)". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- Feldberg, Isaac (August 15, 2019). "First trailer for 'Death of Dick Long' teases crime caper from Emerson-bred 'Swiss Army Man' co-director". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- "The Death of Dick Long (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- "The Death of Dick Long Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (September 25, 2019). "There's No Shortage of Shocks in Swiss Army Man Follow-Up The Death of Dick Long". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- Juzwiak, Rich. "The Death of Dick Long Is Packing a Shocking Twist". The Muse. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
- "1.2. Monthly exports of ICT goods (NACE 30+32), Ireland, January 1997-February 2006, Japan, June 2002-April 2006". doi:10.1787/241766180474. Cite journal requires
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