Have you ever wanted so badly that you’d forgo all basic needs; sleep, eat, rest, dignity just to get it? If the answer is no, maybe you don’t want it badly enough. All jesting aside, the story of One of These Days is inspired by the competition, which was the subject of a documentary: hands on a hardbody and the tragedy that befell what was once an annual “fun” competition.
One Of These Days is set in small town Texas, where Joan (consistently good Carrie Preston) organises the annual contest for one lucky person to win a brand new pick up truck. Twenty people including a local fast food worker, Kyle (Joe Cole) are picked and for the next four days try all manner of tactics to be the last person standing to win the truck. However, when all basic needs are ignored for wants it is only a matter of time before things turn very dark.
Writer/Director Bastian Gunther film of social satire is a very serious one. Rather than playing up the humour of twenty people giving up all sense and sensibility to win a piece of metal on wheels. His gaze is very much of the privilege, those not taking part in this endurance test looking at the poor fools who are. The script is solid and the fictional characters of both Joan and Kyle well drawn. Joe Cole manages to convey Kyle’s vulnerability and fragile ego without actually saying very much.
What Gunther direction manages to convey is the creeping desperation, as if everything depends on winning the truck and the ugly side of the American truck. Even though Joan herself is not taking part in the race, she is nonetheless a contestant except the game she’s entered is one of seeking a better life for herself. The narrative arc of the film is interesting as it starts and ends with Kyle. It leaves the audience with a question: what’s more important people or things?
The one thing One Of These Days lacks is humour. The characters around the truck felt quite 2D but had they been allowed to inject humour into the film it would have been richer and made the incident even more shocking than it already was.
ONE OF THESE DAYS will be released in cinemas only from April 1st.