Detective Detective Detective (2014) – By Philip Smolen


Three estranged brothers (Matthew Clay, Henry J. Kaiser and Adam Mcabe) reunite in an Alaskan cabin in order to play a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) game that is being controlled by a mysterious Game Master (Justin Edwards). It’s something the three of them used to enjoy doing together when they were younger. However, the trio hasn’t seen each other for a while and each of them still harbors some emotional resentment towards each of their siblings. The three men begin the LARP and are instructed to take on the identities of three police detectives and attempt to solve the disappearance of a well known reclusive author. As the game progresses, the trio faces numerous challenges from the Game Master including denying each of them of one of their senses. Can the detectives learn to work together and solve the LARP mystery while the real life brothers learn how to settle their differences and become a family again?

“Detective Detective Detective” is an indie flick filmed in Alaska by director Justin Edwards. It has a very intelligent premise that is further complicated by Edwards’s use of the brothers’ LARP handicaps as a metaphor for their real life relationship. As the game progresses, these restrictions force the brothers to come to terms with each other, both in the game and in real life.

The flick is skillfully made and features strong performances from the three leads as well as gorgeous photography of the Alaskan wilderness. I also loved the layering of reality in the film; three actors play three brothers who play three detectives. However, while watching the film, it struck me that one’s enjoyment of this movie may likely be based on an appreciation of the LARP phenomena. I believe that moviegoers who like to play these types of games will probably be more attuned to the movie’s natural comedic aspects and that they’ll be able to pick up on the humor that develops from these situations. I’m sorry to say that since I’m really not a LARP fan, I didn’t find some of the film’s situations as funny as they were clearly intended to be. That was disappointing to me because I wanted to be in on the joke.

Despite my reservations, “Detective Detective Detective” remains an award-winning and well made comedy that has been drawing raves from moviegoers and film festivals alike. It also seems to draw a lot of its humor from the absurdity of the protagonists’ situation. If you’re a fan of LARPing, this could be the comedy you’ve been hoping someone would make.

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