Friday 5 January 2024

REVIEW: Self Reliance (2024 Film) Starring Jake Johnson

Review by Jon Donnis
Self Reliance, a 2024 American comedy thriller, marks Jake Johnson's impressive debut as a director, writer, and actor. The film takes an interesting premise and injects it with humour, thrills, and unexpected turns, making for an entertaining watch.

The story follows Tommy Walcott, played by Jake Johnson, a middle-aged man leading a dull and monotonous life. However, things take a bizarre turn when he receives an invitation to participate in a dark web reality game, offering a chance to win $1 million. The catch? Assassins from around the world will try to kill him for 30 days, but only when he's alone. Determined to survive, Tommy embarks on a quest to convince friends, family, and strangers to stay with him 24/7.

The film's strength lies in its comedic elements, with Jake Johnson's performance standing out. His portrayal of Tommy Walcott, a character stuck in a mundane routine, is both relatable and humourous. The chemistry between Johnson and Anna Kendrick, who plays Maddy, adds depth to the story, providing moments of genuine connection amid the chaos.

The supporting cast, including Emily Hampshire, Biff Wiff, and the appearance of Andy Samberg playing himself, adds layers of humour and unpredictability to the narrative. The ensemble's willingness to embrace the film's absurdity enhances its comedic appeal.

However, Self Reliance falters in its final act, failing to fully capitalize on the film's unique concept. The story could have taken a wilder and more unconventional route, exploring the dark web game's potential in a more bizarre manner. The film's conclusion feels somewhat lacking, leaving viewers wanting more excitement and resolution.

In terms of visuals and pacing, the film maintains a good balance, keeping the audience engaged throughout. The decision to focus more on comedy than thriller elements work well, creating a lighthearted atmosphere despite the high-stakes premise.

In conclusion, Self Reliance earns a fair 7 out of 10. While it falls short of its full potential with a less satisfying final act, the film is redeemed by Jake Johnson's strong performance, the chemistry between the cast members, and the overall comedic tone. It's a movie that successfully blends humor and thrills, offering a unique take on the comedy thriller genre.

Out on January 12th on Hulu