On the Count of Three

Val has reached a place where he feels the only way out is to end things. But he considers himself a bit of a failure—his effectiveness lacking—so he figures he could use some help. As luck would have it, Val’s best friend, Kevin, is recovering from a failed suicide attempt, so he seems like the perfect partner for executing this double suicide plan. But before they go, they have some unfinished business to attend to. #It’s a great day to be alive.


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at 03:19 am

If you enjoy reading my Spoiler-Free reviews, please follow my blog @ https://www.msbreviews.com Even though On the Count of Three isn’t exactly a comedy or a light film based on a silly premise (How It Ends), I did expect humor to play a big part. In this regard, I wasn’t disappointed. Christopher Abbott (Possessor) is particularly funny with all his self-debates about taboo matters such as racism and general discrimination, but there are several meaningful messages “hidden” in the seemingly comedic scenes. Let me also praise Jerrod Carmichael for his grounded, emotionally compelling display and for his terrific directing. The actors share impeccable chemistry and transform a supposedly close friendship into something really authentic. Val (Carmichael) and Kevin (Abbott) are incredibly relatable, which could make a movie about committing double suicide a bit dangerous. The screenplay from Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch is carefully written in a way that clearly demonstrates how different people deal with depression, sadness, stress, and so many other aspects in life that bring people down. Fortunately, these characters are built and developed in such a rich, enlightening manner that the ending - while shocking in its essence - works beautifully as a message that life is worth living no matter how tough it might be. This might be a confusing statement to write for people who have already seen the film, but it all has to do with the care that the viewers gain for the protagonists. The first act puts them at equal standpoints regarding suicide, but throughout the runtime, it’s shown to the audience what happened in each of their lives. It’s the subtle conversations, the apparently insignificant jokes here and there that ultimately turn the climax so emotionally effective. The best compliment I can offer this movie is that the ending - despite being somewhat expected - clearly transmits to the public what’s right and wrong. Technically, exceptional camera work from Marshall Adams (beautiful long takes) and an amazing score from Owen Pallett elevate the overall picture. I wish the characters could have been more explored, but having in mind the short runtime, it’s truly a great piece of filmmaking. On the Count of Three is one of those films I know I’ll undoubtedly rewatch more than just a couple of times. Boasting two phenomenal performances from Christopher Abbott and Jerrod Carmichael (also the director), the genuine chemistry between the two actors elevate a close friendship into something that makes the viewers deeply care about their fate. Tremendous praise to Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch’s screenplay, which is definitely the element that makes this movie one of the best I’ve seen this year. By writing it with extreme care and responsibility, the predictable yet impactful ending doesn’t leave a margin for doubts about what’s right or wrong. Everyone deals with the bad moments in life differently, but life is always worth living. I felt emotionally invested in the main characters to the point of wishing the film was longer so that the writers could dive deep into these protagonists. Technical shoutouts to the impressive camera work and remarkable score. In the end, I couldn’t recommend it more. Rating: A-

Louisa Moore - Screen Zealots

at 11:41 am

A suicide pact between two friends sets the tone of the dramedy “On the Count of Three,” directed by Jerrod Carmichael. If a murder-suicide doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, never fear. Carmichael adds just enough dark humor and heart to this tragic bromance to give his violent tale a wonderfully original voice. Val (Carmichael) feels like a helpless and hopeless failure. He just backed out of proposing to his pregnant girlfriend (Tiffany Haddish), and a lame promotion at his boring job has pushed him over the edge. He’s ready to end it all, but not without the help of his equally depressed best friend from childhood, Kevin (Christopher Abbott), who is currently undergoing treatment in a mental facility after his own failed suicide attempt. Vale goes to visit Kevin and ends up breaking him out for the day. Soon after, he flashes a duffel bag stuffed with a pair of loaded guns and pitches a plan for the two to shoot each other in the face when night falls. It’s a gloomy premise for sure, but at the heart of the film is a solid story of friendship. Kevin and Val are (quite literally) ride or die buddies who have a genuine admiration for each other. They spend time deciding what to do on their last day on Earth and, since they aren’t going to see tomorrow, they settle on living the rest of the day enjoying the fact that they’ll face no consequences for their actions. This gives Kevin the idea to pay a visit to a therapist (Henry Winkler) who abused him as a child so he can finally settle some unfinished business. Ready to once again experience the joys of living for only a brief moment, the best friends become a couple of suicidal vigilantes who make the most of spending one last day, together. Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch‘s screenplay features whip-smart writing and memorable dialogue, which incorporates nuggets of street-wise wisdom with just the right amount of nuanced empathy for their characters. I have fallen head-over-heels in love with their writing after seeing this film. The story could’ve gone South very quickly, but it works on so many levels. Val and Kevin aren’t portrayed as sad losers, but as two men who grow to appreciate their last few hours of existence. Their relationship and discussions feel genuine. “On the Count of Three” is a little rough around the edges, but Carmichael displays a lot of confidence in his directorial debut. This is the type of film that will stick with me for a while.


at 15:10 pm

My favorite from sundance. Great direction and a really funny script. This is exactly my type of humor so it worked for me most of the time. The performances are great, Christopher Abbott's still a Sundance darling. My only gripes with this film is the technical aspects of the script. It tries to balance multiple different tones at once. It was working for me at first, but it starting to get really irritating. The final 20 minutes don't even feel like the same movie tone-wise. I'm still gonna check this out when it gets a wide release, but it could've been better.