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film review

Matthew Broderick, left, and Géza Röhrig in To Dust.Good Deed Entertainment

  • To Dust
  • Written by Shawn Snyder
  • Directed by Shawn Snyder, Jason Begue
  • Starring Geza Rohrig, Matthew Broderick
  • Classification NA
  • 92 minutes

Rating:

2.5 out of 4 stars

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust … what does that mean exactly?

That is the question of To Dust, an underfed but defiantly attractive black comedy from the upstart American filmmaker Shawn Snyder. We have Shmuel (Geza Rohrig), an insistent Hasidic cantor who, after losing his wife to cancer, is obsessed with the decomposition of her buried corpse. The understanding of her decay is central to his stoic grieving.

He enlists the help of Albert, a jaded science teacher played by wan, bearded straight-man-for-hire Matthew Broderick. When an unsanctioned biology experiment with a pig goes wrong, a suddenly ruffled Albert declares the situation “unscientific at best, unethical at worst,” to say nothing of not being kosher. To Dust’s humour is of the one-trick kind – an odd couple on an odd mission – but there is soul and small pleasures to its fly-by 92 minutes.

Snyder employs Jethro Tull’s music at times, where I would have gone with the more obvious prog-rock existentialism – Kansas’s Dust in the Wind. That’s why Snyder is a filmmaker with promise, and I’m just here spreading the news.

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