Life (AKA The Boy Who Commits a Murder)
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Life (AKA The Boy Who Commits a Murder)  is a 2016 English independent dramatic film following the life of a disturbed teenager as he comes to terms with his regrettable actions. The film is non-chronological, and was written, directed and produced by Matt Senior. It is Senior's début feature-length film.
“The only way out is to climb a tower of bodies.” Living a normal life, a teenage boy becomes influenced by everyone and everything around him until he reaches breaking point, leaving us all asking...what is his story?
From independent filmmaker Matt Senior (The Operator) and x2 Emmy Award winning author D.M. Larson, The Boy Who Commits a Murder is a powerful and thought provoking piece of drama, fantastically composed by Kyle Staff & Ross Bugden, and executively produced by Dan Lyle.
The film begins with a message reading "This DVD movie is rated 18. It says fuck a few times, so if you're sensitive, fuck off." Following this, the opening credits begin which layer over a collection of fast cut scenes from events to come, as well as the protagonists daily routine. The protagonist of the film is "The Boy", a character who is wrought with misery and suffering. The film opens with him flicking through a red book containing a collection of cryptic messages, before beginning to write on a blank page. This then triggers the narration. "The Boy" begins talking about how life is a game, and a test. We meet his two carers, and gain an understanding of the main characters state of mind.
The story begins with "The Boy" at a graveyard where he is describing his reasons for murdering an unknown character. The movie then flashes back to the beginning of "The Boy's" life as he leads us through a collection of human beings that torment him, as the audience attempts to figure out who the victim is. The first victim is known as "Interruption", "The Boy's" ex-best friend. As they walk and talk, "Interruption" becomes frustrated with "The Boy's" silence and insults him. "The Boy" passes him a mysterious red box, before cutting him off and returning home.
After a collection of apparently random footage, we are presented with the second sub character - love #1. In a visually awkward relationship, "The Boy" explains how she offers him sympathy. The segment ends with a newspaper clipping explaining how she died recently in a car crash.
This leads to the next scene, where "The Boy" is presented with three smokers who attempt to pressure him into having a cigarette. He narrates that they are killing themselves, before returning home to cut his wrists in a bathroom.
After this, Senior's character enters a tool filled garage where he is plagued by the voices of the bullies around him. He eventually picks up a hammer before the scene cuts to black. This scene leads to a phone conversation with "Decisions", as they arrange to meet up. She explains to him how he doesn't need "her", and that she knows who he loves. "The Boy" then encounters "Bully" and "Bystander." "Bully" proceeds to beat "The Boy" to the ground, whilst "Bystander" stands and watches. "The Boy" is more angry with "Bystander." As he walks off, he bumps into "Stranger", who tells him to watch where he's going.
Following this, the film cuts a western scene, where "The Boy" is practising drawing a gun to a shooting montage. Prior to this, he puts down a blooded hammer which he was just cleaning. He then walks into the garage, as the film fades to black. As the film fades back in, there is an unknown character tied up to a stool. "The Boy" then proceeds to torture the unknown person - lopping off a toe, cutting their ear lobe with a pair of scissors, gouging their eyeball with a Stanley Knife, and eventually decapitating them with a hedge cutter. He proceeds to brush away the blood.
"The Boy" is then travelling in a car, where a news presenter explains how a missing girl was found. He then carries out his daily routine, before feeling immense pressure during a school examination, where he has a vision of flipping the exam table. The news presenter then explains how a local musician was in a serious car accident.
Next, the protagonist is antagonised by a series of sub characters, including "Peer Pressure #1", "Peer Pressure #2" and "Comfort." The narrative then explains a series of conditions that "The Boy" has due to backlash of an event he committed as a child. After a montage of clips, "The Boy" throws a bloodied tissue into a pit in his garage.
This is followed by an uncomfortable scene showing "The Boy" in the shower naked, extremely thin and covered in spots. He then has a small revelation, cutting his nail and cleaning his ears out. This is contrasted by the next scene, where "Love #2" leaves him, and "The Boy" has a vision of killing him.
It is then revealed that he suffers from extreme clinical depression. As the doctor explains symptoms, it is also revealed that "Stranger" actually said "sorry mate." Ironically, Doctor Nofilia then talks to "The Boy" about his personal problems, including that his daughter has gone missing.
Following this, Senior's character encounters the final sub character, "Reassurance", before he receives a hair cut layered with dark narration. It then cuts to a scene where he attempts to drown himself in a bath tub but fails.
During the final scene, it is revealed that "The Boy" actually killed himself, as all of the previous scenes come together chronologically in order to make sense. He stabbed himself in the garage after a vision of crushing his own hand in a vice. He explains as these scenes overlap that he now sees everything clearly, and that he has regret. The film ends with "The Boy" fading from between his two carers, as the credits roll. During the end credits, there is a small clip of "The Boy" and "Love #2" laughing, and the final image the audience see of "The Boy" is that of a happy one.
- Matt Senior - The Boy
- Tiegan Skerton - Love #1
- Sam Ord-Houghton - Love #2
- Bill Senior - Carer #1
- Lorr Senior - Carer #2
- Amy Bingley - Decisions
- Tara Johnston - Peer Pressure #1
- Kiara Millard - Peer Pressure #2
- Micha Gill - Peer Pressure #3
- James 'Jimmy' Vowden - Bully
- Kyle Staff - Bystander
- Jack Ide - Interruption
- Jess Bound - Helping Hand #1
- Chloe McJury - Helping Hand #2
- Stuart Fort - Teacher
- Matt Brown XCV - Dr. Nofilia
- Elias Freeman - News Presenter
- Dan Lyle - Stranger
- Kyle Staff - One Step Beyond
Production lasted one year and five months as writer/director Matt Senior wanted his vision to be achieved perfectly. The aim was to create a film with a documentary feel, whilst sitting comfortably within the standard storytelling format. It would feature abstract scenes, emotional cleansing, fast paced editing, low lighting for a gritty feel and the realisation that people can do anything. The film was to explore a series of characters found within our own society, and how they can all affect a single individual. It was created to be rated 18 on purpose, to make it as visually disturbing and controversial as possible, so that it sticks in the viewers mind. Matt Senior lost a large amount of weight for the role, as he method acted. There are several trivial facts on IMDb, and more information on the official website.
The film is inspired by true events. Senior says that "this film was not inspired by one single event, instead multiple events that I witness every day in the news, around me and through stories I hear. Although what you watch is a film, every single event you see really is happening somewhere in the world."
The film explores a multitude of themes, which Senior felt reflected a number of people within society. Each character is nameless, instead being labelled by their personalities. This allows you to view each individual as a human being, as opposed to a person. These themes include: Bullying, bystanding, love, homosexuality, peer pressure, depression, anger, hate, forgiveness, adoption, torment and even racism.
The film held a producers screening on April 1, 2016. The producers were all very pleased with the result. Since May 1, the film has been made available on DVD through Big Cartel  and Amazon.com, as well as on VOD through VHX and Amazon Prime. On November 1, the film will be made available on Blu Ray through Big Cartel.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics, praising Senior's passion and narration. INZAINREVIEWS describes the film as "a chilling piece of drama" with scenes that "will be stuck in my head for how violent they are", giving the film a very high rating of A-. Screen Critix described the effects as "very impressive", going on to say that "you can really tell that a lot of love and effort has been put into creating the film." They rated the film a positive 6/10. On the other hand, Diamond in the Rough Films were more negative. Although proclaiming "Senior's narration is terrific" and that the film has "style", they felt that "the problem here is that the storytelling takes a back seat." They gave the film a negative rating of 1.5/5. The film holds a current rating on IMDb of 8.4/10.