Ex Drummer (2007)
By: Devon B. on June 9, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Siren Visual (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.77:1 (16:9 enhanced). Dutch DD 5.1, Dutch DTS 5.1, Dutch DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 100 Minutes
The Movie
Director: Koen Mortier
Starring: Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert, Gunter Lamoot, Sam Louwyck
Screenplay: Koen Mortier
Country: Belgium
External Links
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Despite writing for a website dedicated to "Horror, cult, sleaze and cheese," these types of films have taken a back seat for me lately as I focus on a new obsession: Music docos. Okay, so maybe some of them are sleazy or cheesy, and certainly there are a few that have reached cult status, but I'm not being entirely honest. It's not music documentaries I'm watching, so much as punk documentaries. And, to be even more honest, it's mostly just American Hardcore, a film that first graced my DVD player a few months ago, and doesn't seem to want to leave it. Actually, the disc probably has no will of its own, I just seem to be unable to remove it from the player for extended periods of time. Sometimes I still like to watch other types of movies, so when I heard about Ex Drummer, a Belgian punk rock black comedy, I was very interested. I was hoping Ex Drummer would be like Hardcore Punk Logo. It's not at all like that movie, but there are some brief hardcore sex scenes, which has to count for something.

Ex Drummer is about this famous writer who is approached by three "handicaps" who want him to become the drummer for their band. Some of the guys aren't that disabled, one guy just has a lisp, but that's the band's gimmick and it's worked for the Kids of Whitney High, so why not go with it? And go with it they do. The idea is the band will play one show only in a battle of the bands, and the movie is about the struggles they face trying to compete in the contest, not the least of which is they've picked a drummer who doesn't actually play drums.

The film is very stylish, with roving camerawork and a dude who hangs out on his ceiling for no apparent reason, but I think a lot of the humour may have been lost in translation. For example, as I said one of the characters has a lisp, but sometimes that's hard to pick up for those who don't speak Dutch or Flemish. Or at least it was for me. Some of the dark comedy translates just fine, thankfully, such as a painful encounter with a man known as Big Dick and an absolutely hilarious scene of the band trying to rehearse with their deaf member performing back up vocals.

Speaking of the music, the music is cool. The disabled guys are supposed to be good musicians, and what they do musically is both interesting and fun. There are also some other bands featured in the battle who are quite good. Funeral Dress, Belgian scene representatives in another doco that constantly inhabits my player, Punk's Not Dead, make a brief appearance, but the band that really impressed me were Flip Kowlier with their song which seems to be about Big Dick's penis.
Ex Drummer appears to have been shot on video then film looked. This leaves grain behind in lighter images. There is also the occasional spot or fleck. As bits of the film are meant to be like a documentary, most of these flaws seemed appropriate.
There're three audio choices, but like a dumbass I still haven't paid for a DVD player with DTS decoding, so can't tell you how the DTS 5.1 track sounds. I'm sure it's great. I did try both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. The 2.0 track is louder, but the mix is more even on the 5.1 track. There's not a huge use of surround, but a few FX, like an echo in a vaginal canal (yes, you read that right) work better on the 5.1 track. No matter which way you watch the film, it's in Dutch and Flemish with removable English subtitles.
Extra Features
The extras are the trailer, a few video clips, and a making of. The first two videos are the battle of the bands footage featuring the film's lead band, The Feminists, and the Overdo Hykers, who are heckled by the crowd, however this is left untranslated here. The third video is from Flip Kowlier and it's a proper video clip, but it's still made up of bits from the movie. Regardless, it's the best song in the movie and I've listened to repeatedly now. The making of runs about a half hour. It details the difficulties of turning the book into a film, including the search for financing which dragged on for a few years. There're a few funny audition tapes, but then once the filming begins, it becomes a faux-mockery of the director for the most part, with others involved insulting him and acting mad at him. It's amusing, but goes on too long. This section does translate a bit of the Flip Kowlier lyrics, so if you want some none too subtle innuendo about massive cocks, check that part out.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Fuck, I don't know. I certainly don't feel I wasted my time with this one, but I'm also not entirely satisfied. I'm sure if I caught more of the cultural references I would love it, but I had the feeling I was missing a lot of jokes. It's worth a watch, but if you're in the mood for a Belgian black comedy, Man Bites Dog is still the way to go.

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