In one of those weird circuitous ways the world works, Hotline Miami, the video game inspired by the film Drive, has spawned its own film which looks a lot like Drive. But, hey, both Drive and Hotline Miami are excellent, so a film based on them both can be no bad thing. Plus, when the trailer looks as good as this, it looks like the filmmakers have nailed it
Seman Kesh has will be, both, writing and directing the neon-filled ultraviolence and, if his previous credits are anything to go by, he should be able to do a good job of it. Kesh has won a number of short film awards at SXSW and from those embedded on the Indiegogo campaign page you can see why. They’re all cleanly shot pieces that give an impression of the consideration that’s gone into each shot.
Just look at how well he captures the tone of Hotline Miami in this campaign pitch (yes, the film is being crowdfunded):
Kesh and his team are looking for $50,000 to make the short into a reality and it does seem like they could do a good job of it.
I’ve a couple of concerns, however. Dennation and Devolver, the developer and publisher of Hotline Miami, aren’t connected to the project in any way. They told Polygon that they wish the filmmakers the best of luck but they aren’t providing any creative input. That might explain some of the choices that come up in the pitch video. We see Jacket’s face. The protagonist of Hotline Miami is basically faceless. The topdown perspective of the game means his identity is unknown and for the large part of the game he’s smashing heads in while wearing a rubber animal mask. It feels like a Judge Dredd-style infraction to show off his rosy cheeks.
The story, too, is extremely cliche. That’s not itself a problem, Hotline Miami didn’t stray too far down the unconventional revenge narrative but it wasn’t crass about it. Having one character suffer from amnesia and the other killing people to find his missing wife, well, that does seem a little crass.
That’s just a couple of my reservations, though. The production of the pitch trailer is fantastic and if it carried over into a longer film it would be a joy to see. Also, anymore time spent in the company of the game’s throbbing soundtrack (or music that could have been in the game’s soundtrack) is to be eagerly anticipated.