‘’Fun’’ being a descent into depravity and violence.

A Morgan Freeman-sound-alike narrator sets the tone: that we are not supposed to take this seriously. Emotionally-damaged, alcoholic war vet Paul (Luke Sorge) is introduced as our main protagonist, encouraged by his sister Jill (Brenna Otts) to see a therapist. Things quickly take a turn for the comically unconventional when the pregnant therapist wastes no time in strongly suggesting that what Paul needs is some kink in his life. A few minute in their first session and she’s giving him a time and place to go to for a ‘’special’’ evening, complete with a password to gain entry. Paul barely questions any of it and follows the instructions, literally not knowing what he’s getting himself into. From then on, the fun begins.

Rondo is a comedy, but its style and execution is as deliberate as any straight thriller of its noir-themed inspirations. Every shot is stylishly-composed, and if it weren’t for the almost- constant humor, remains effective in creating a genuine thriller vibe. There are shades of DePalma which are especially enjoyed, being a fan of his 70’s and 80’s work. Likewise, the art direction and photography are impeccably singular.

The acting is uniformly excellent, with special mention going to Gena Shaw who was the stand-out.  There is at least one major twist that happens fairly early on that was unpredictable and kick-starts the rest of the events leading into the climax.

Things culminate in a scene that I’d describe as blood-squib porn, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 80’s-90’s-era Paul Verhoeven. Big, wet, explosive bullet impacts. It’s a chear-worthy-scene for lovers of well-made practical effects and a clear celebration of it; as stylishly shot as the rest of the film and in gloriously-fetishized slow-motion, emphasizing each impact on the vivtim’s body as well as the incredibly well-performed reactions of the actors. This scene alone is pure cinematic joy for lovers of the genre.

Director Drew Barnhardt has a great filmmaking style and knows exactly what he’s going for. And although a (very dark) comedy, Rondo is not a parody but fits into its genre perfectly well. One has to have a tolerance and/or particular appreciation of graphic screen violence and dark subject matter in order to enjoy it as it’s meant to. It’s terrific filmmaking, genuinely funny and tense, unabashedly violent, and I for one was thoroughly entertained.

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