Would you kill a man?
If you are a rational person-and I bet you are- the answer would be a resounding no, greeted by thunderous applause from the peanut gallery and Hallmark personalities.
However, what if I said you have tasted that Klondike before; that creamy, sweet, rich in vanilla and oh so refreshing treat that you can pick up at any Speedway from the East Coast- through the Heartland- all the way to sunny California?
Now what if someone took that Klondike away from you, forever, and you can no longer satisfy that lifestyle your taste buds have grown so accustomed too? You would probably lose your shit right? I know I would; because that was my Klondike-and your Klondike- that we both worked hard for, slaved away hours at a job where we had to schmooze people and wear a demeaning outfit with a dumb name tag just to let other people know we were still a person, and not just a slave.
John Felton (Luke Wilson) feels our pain in the 2012 film Meeting Evil where, after getting fired and losing a listing on one of his houses, meets a mysterious black man Richie (Samuel L. Jackson) wearing a stylish fedora whilst driving a very sexy GTO who thus takes him on a homicidal journey through Texas. You can think of this films presentation as being something of a modern day twist on Disney’s Scrooge where Richie plays a sort of “Ghost of Christmas Past” with John, showing him the raw truths about his life and the world around him.
“You gotta trust your own best instincts, John. If you don’t, you’re not gonna make it. It’s up to you.”-Richie
John isn’t a perfect man, husband and father and the same can be said for his wife (Leslie Bibb) not being the perfect companion. On the surface, the couple looks like a normal All-American family with two kids Sam (Gabrielle Harvey) and John Jr (Sam Robbins).- a boy and a girl of course- along with a lovely home in the middle of Texas. However, both struggle in keeping things together during tough times with the housing market and economy. We soon find out how both cope and deal with the stressful situation of John not being able to sustain the family financially.
Thanks to director Chris Fisher, the filmography is sleek, glossy and crisp which adds a sort of vibe a la Grand Theft Auto V. The tones are dark in the appropriate places with a touch of sepia filters which make the murderous spree that Richie takes us and John on that much more appealing.
With that being said, I took this film three different ways in my viewing. One could view this film as being nothing more than some crazed asshole in a suit garnished with a fedora taking some average family man to the circus of murder, tickets for two. Or one could see Richie as Johns sort of alter ego and a figment of his imagination (like in Mr. Brooks) given the extremities to which they go through. Or one could view the entire film as one giant social commentary on the American Dream and the grand delusions people put themselves through. Which way did I view the film you ask? Well, all three together of course. (Spoilers Ahead for sure- the movie has been out for awhile… give me a break)
At first, we the viewer -like John and the police- don’t believe that Richie is a real person and that no witnesses have even seen or heard of the man. It’s only when former affair and office fling Tammy ( Peyton List) comes into the fray when they reunite at a bar Richie took John to that we begin to realize Richie is real and is a sadistic representation of John’s dark conscience.
“The things I hate most, are the things that resemble my own faults. I hate bad manners. I hate people that don’t give common courtesy. Hypocrites and cowards. That’s all we are.”- Richie
Tammy in a way represents John’s freedom, the freedom that he never chased after and turned his back on. Tammy and John have a deep love for each other (You can see it on screen) as opposed to his frigid and backstabbing “wife”. We see John constantly throughout the film trying to push away Tammy even though deep down he wants her, he wants freedom. Lady Liberty.
Fun Fact: A study conducted by Siemens Festival Nights found that as many as 73 percent of people surveyed in America say they are “making do” in their relationship because their true love got away.
People settle for many reasons, from fear of being alone to wanting security and comfort with another person. People settle for fear of losing friends, disappointing others, or because they don’t feel that they can be happy unless somebody or anybody is sleeping next to them. John in the movie falls into that statistical category because all his life he never listened to the one person who truly cared and understood him, his self. Richie, in a sick and perverted way, is Johns self.
Richie keeps reminding John that throughout his whole life he has always coward out, turned his back on the people that truly loved and cared for him. Richie keeps telling him to stand up for himself because life is wonderful, but the world is evil. The world will try to f*ck you over every minute of every day for the rest of your life. You must make a stand somewhere down the line or it will consume you.
“If you wanna believe the lie, then go on living your life. But the world is evil, John. It’s just plain evil. That’s the truth.” -Richie
The interesting thing about the movie is that I didn’t realize until now that John was really a good guy, he still loved his family and would do anything for them. In other words he really didn’t care for that Klondike bar, the lifestyle. It was his wife who cared for the Klondike and it is revealed that she went to great lengths to keep that lifestyle that she had grown so accustomed too.
It’s interesting too because you would think John would be the one to snap and be the bad person. He was the one after all who slaved away hours and made the money to pay for those Klondike’s, whereas his wife didn’t. And through entitlement, went to great lengths to make sure that the creamy, rich, and chocolate gravy train kept flowing.
In the end, John stays with his “wife”. He killed his other self -Richie- (foolishly- and you would know why if you have seen the movie). He didn’t chase after freedom like Richie warned him about. The film ends without us knowing what happens to John and his Wife, however, as an educated guess I would say that he doesn’t live happily ever after. If I were to ask John’s wife what she would do for a Klondike bar short of f*cking the pool boy, I now know the answer.
So if you like films/cinema that disguises the truth through violence, satire, and entertainment ( i.e American Psycho, Grand Theft Auto series, etc.) then you will enjoy this twisted gem if you haven’t already.