For anyone that has ever felt like an outcast, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is the movie for you.
A tale of karma, revenge, and second chances set in the digital age, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a wild and unruly laugh riot that you won’t soon forget.
Nobody believes in Paul Dood (Tom Meeten) as much as his mother. A kindhearted grown man still clinging to dreams of competitive reality show stardom, Paul and his mom spend their time preparing him for an audition that could change everything. But when the day comes and everything falls apart, Paul decides to enact revenge upon the five selfish strangers he blames for his downfall.
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break is a movie that delivers on the promise of its title. As Paul works through his list of targets and causes chaos around his small hometown, he broadcasts the maniacal events on a social media app for the world to see. Each grisly death draws in viewers, and before long, seemingly everyone on the planet is watching Paul Dood perform.
Making viewers cheer for someone trying to kill other people is hard, but the script from Brook Driver, Matt White, and Nick Gillespie makes a strong argument for Paul’s choices. If each victim’s actions do not turn your stomach, the way that they treat Paul will. Their complete lack of empathy and understanding toward him feeds into a universal feeling of not being good enough that everyone can recognize. We’ve all felt like the underdog.
The film’s real magic is the lead performance from Tom Meeten, who deserves recognition and praise far beyond what a single review can provide. Paul is a complex individual, and conveying the contrasting emotions within him would be a challenge for anyone. He fully believes in himself, but when he realizes that the world doesn’t view him the way he sees himself, something inside of him breaks. Meeten’s ability to make us understand and empathize with that makes the second and third acts work. Without him, Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break would merely be a Joker knockoff with better jokes.
The supporting cast deserves recognition as well, and none are more deserving than Katherine Parkinson. Though her role as Clemmie is relatively small, it’s also perhaps the most important. Clemmie is the anchor that grounds Paul’s actions. She does what everyone should do for one another by trying to see the world through his eyes. Parkinson manages to create humor and sweet moments while barely saying a word. There are many people in the cast, and each character is entirely different from the next, but Clemmie is the one that will stick with you, and that is entirely due to Parkinson’s presence.
Writing about a movie like Paul Dood is challenging for several reasons. For starters, there are a ton of wonderful and hysterical surprises that critics shouldn’t spoil. It’s also the only film of its kind, which makes comparison almost impossible. What I can say is that Nick Gillespie’s new film starts strong and builds toward a big ending that will have you cheering and cry-laughing in equal measure. It will shock you as much as it tugs at your heartstrings, and it will remind you why you fell in love with movies in the first place.
Paul Dood’s Dead Lunch Break is an instant classic. I struggle to imagine anything like it happening again unless another country (probably America) insists on a reboot. Everyone has felt like Paul Dood in their lifetime. Sadly, this film is as close to having a moment in the sun that many who encounter bullies will ever reach. It’s a bloody good time.