Anyone whose been through dark days knows that the pain and suffering of the human condition can be so merciless that it’s almost laughable. Zach Woods (Silicon Valley) brings this notion to life in his award winning directorial debut, David.
The film depicts an ill-fated moment when the issues of three men, two of whom are named David, collide in a hilariously ridiculous way. The film opens with the first David, played by William Jackson Harper, pouring his broken soul out to his therapist, played by Will Ferrell. As David expresses his misery with a heavy heart, there is an unexpected interruption from the therapist’s son (Fred Hechinger), whose name also happens to be – David.
The three men are forced to face their problems in a way that becomes both progressively darker and funnier. There’s yelling, brawling, and hugging, all of which lead to an absurdly endearing ending that will have you laughing at the madness you just witnessed. Ferrell, Harper, and Hechinger are the perfect actors to pull off such a ludicrous premise. Their dry humor and well-timed delivery took a serious and grim subject and turned it into a comedic masterpiece. Comedy is always a risky undertaking, but Zach Woods and Brandon Gardner’s writing, combined with the actors’ performances, was a formula for success.
Cinematographer Andre Lascaris gave the film a highly stylized look that perfectly complemented the themes in the film. With a blue tint, an intense grain, and a handheld feel, the film achieved a look that is reminiscent of the days of camcorders and VHS. This look is also reminiscent of a time in film and TV where manhood and fatherhood were way too often defined by a lack of emotion and tough love.
It’s easy to forget that men, and therapists for that matter, are complex humans experiencing life just as deeply as the rest of us. David normalizes men talking about their feelings and puts a refreshing twist on a father/son narrative that Hollywood continues to tell, despite its fallacy and negative effects.