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88% The Drop $2.1M
37% If I Stay $1.8M

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Ex Drummer Reviews

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Super Reviewer

October 20, 2009
A writer agrees to become the drummer for a band formed by trio of handicapped lowlifes to win a Belgian battle of the bands; he ends up manipulating them into destruction. The movie is explained through Dries? confession when he agrees to join the band as their celebrity drummer: "I want to step outside my happy world. Descend into the depths of stupidity, ugliness, obtuseness, unfaithfulness? Latch onto the life of losers, but without belonging to that world and in the knowledge that I can always return to my own world." In other words, it's socioeconomic tourism among the disadvantaged, GUMMO with Eurotrash subbed in for poor white trash: the underclasses do the craziest things, like constantly rape each other and neglect their children until the tykes chomp down on excrement from hunger. Who wouldn't want to enter such a world for ninety minutes, aside from most film-goers? The soundtrack is the main draw.

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2010
I really dug this movie. I'm not going to go over the whole plot as this information can be found elsewhere, I just wanna say that this movie is utterly unique. Features gratuitious drugs, sex and violence, has great style and a kick ass soundtrack and I can gurantee that you haven't seen anything like it. PUNK AS FUCK.
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2008
Now here's a film. Like Gasper Noe directing Trainspotting with characters for Funny Games. Stylish and brutal, this is a consistently entertaining film with great music and excellent performances. A film I'll definitely be revisiting many more times.
July 13, 2012
Ex Drummer (Koen Mortier, 2007)

From everything I'd heard about Koen Mortier's Ex Drummer, a shockingly (well, shocking to me, anyway) controversial film when it came out in 2007, I expected it to be a Flemish Goreinvasión. Instead, I got a Flemish Hard Core Logo, and while it's nowhere near as brilliant as Bruce MacDonald's tale of life-on-the-road punk woe, it's funny, it's switchblade-sharp, and it's not nearly as politically incorrect, or as controversial, as you've been told.

Plot: Dries (successful TV actor Dries van Hagen, most recently in the series David) is a drummer who joins a band where everyone is handicapped. (This is the source of most of the controversy, and it's entirely artificial; the "handicaps" in question are of the emotional "daddy didn't cuddle me growing up" variety... which really, when you consider it, means Dries is joining Staind.) There is then great controversy among both critics and fans, entirely separate from the controversy that surrounds the "handicapped" issue, about what occurs. The press for the film, and most of the critics who reviewed it when it was first released, are convinced that Dries immediately starts manipulating the other members of the band in his own quest for fame and fortune. A growing number of us, on the other hand, have a different view of that, but I'm getting ahead of myself. In any case, the band (who are truly awful) start making a name for themselves, capitalizing on the handicapped angle. Can fame and fortune truly be on the horizon? Hey, it worked for the Kids of Widney High...

So, back to the manipulation angle, which is where the real controversy about the film can be found (in the same way that, say, it's "controversial" that the original cut of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is better than the director's cut). Is Dries actually manipulating the band? Because let's face it, these guys are stereotypes. They're lazy white-trash rednecks who are trying to find a way to get out of working for a living, and what they need is direction. Dries is the only one in the band with even the slightest motivation to get anyone going, even if that motivation is somewhat ulterior (Dries is a writer, and he's ultimately going to write about all this-but the band knows that before he signs on). How much can it be manipulation when everyone gets what they want, and Dries' laying down the law (which comes to a head about two-thirds of the way through the movie) seems a lot more like a frustrated parent dealing with raging toddlers than it does someone who's manipulating adults? The movie's worth watching just to find out what side of the line you're on.

Not that there's no other reason to watch it. It's wickedly funny, as politically incorrect as one would expect given the premise (the lazy-redneck premise, not the handicapped premise), and the sterling soundtrack is chock full of bands like Lightning Bolt, Mogwai, Isis, Arno, and Funeral Dress (okay, I'd never heard of the last before seeing the movie, but immediately picked up their first album after). It could've been a touch more coherent, to be sure, and it seems to lose its way during the final third of the film (until we get to the climax), as if Mortier (who adapted the screenplay from Herman Brusselmans' novel) didn't quite know how to get from point A to point B. Still, it's one to watch. ***
May 13, 2010
It stands to reason that a film version of perhaps Belgium's most controversial author (the revered and despised Herman Brusselmans) would produce an experience every bit as extreme and sulfurous ? with audience response to match ? as his books. He regularly spits in the face of "political correctness" with outrageously misogynist or downright misanthropic remarks, sometimes about local celebrities, which has landed him in court on a few occasions. Graphic descriptions of sex and violence have become so prevalent in his work to the extent that they could serve as its very definition in the minds of many. First-time feature director Koen Mortier (responsible for a couple of well-received shorts, rarely seen outside the festival circuit though, and a really striking commercial starring Olympic swimmer Fred Deburghgraeve) had his work cut out for him then with this (first) adaptation of a Brusselmans novel, arguably his most popular literary effort to boot.

Transposing the action from Ghent to the coastal town of Ostend (a virtual stone's throw from where I live, in fact) ? apparently because of the people ultimately cast came from around there and spoke the local dialect ? the story is told from the point of view of the writer's alter ego, Dries (Vanhegen, who looks and sounds remarkably like a younger, sexier version of Ostend's most successful export, singer/songwriter Arno), who receives the unusual request from a trio of physically challenged musicians to join their band and take part in an upcoming rock rally. Intrigued, Dries accepts the offer, which prompts a series of events that will lead to death and/or dismemberment for most characters. Unlike most other writers, Brusselmans goes against the grain and makes his own character the undeniable villain. Intellectually superior to the other band members, and smugly aware of it (allowing him to assume the role of misplaced moral judge), Dries cruelly manipulates his newfound "friends" with all the dispassionate detachment a professor might display towards the lab rats in his experiments. This has the effect of some sort of shock therapy for the audience, opening their eyes to the plight of people they might otherwise all too casually dismiss, pointing out their similarities to our own superficially superior human condition rather than the glaring differences most other media (think tabloid newspapers and TV's despicable "reality" shows that are usually anything but) pounce upon.

Characters may appear grotesque, but the cast makes them human. Stand-up comedian Gunter Lamoot shines as gay farm boy Jan, living with his demented, strapped to the bed dad (the inimitable François Beukelaers, leading man of Marc Didden's despairingly downbeat BRUSSELS BY NIGHT) and bald as a billiard ball, wig-wearing mum (an absolutely unforgettable performance by Bernadette Damman). Dancer Sam Louwyck, a good friend of Deus front-man Tom Barman and star of his directorial debut ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS, turns in a highly physical performance as ever, of course, only this time he also proves to possess sufficient dramatic clout to fulfill the part of the deaf guitarist Ivan, living the derelict life with his drugged-up wife and bawling baby girl. It is TV actor Norman Baert however who provides the movie's greatest revelation as the psychotic Koen, whose continuous ranting and raving against women makes for some of the funniest as well as most harrowing moments when words lead to violent actions.

With something to seemingly offend anyone whether you're female, homosexual, of a different race or religion, this inflammable material is approached with admirable restraint for most part by Mortier. Unlike the morally bankrupt Dries (hey, we only share a first name, right !), he doesn't judge but merely observes, to the point of scrutiny even. A few distancing effects (characters walking on ceilings or moving backwards) are thrown in for good measure but never to the extent that they detract from what's really important here. Rather, they create a false sense of security in the movie-savvy audience (allowing for a TRAINSPOTTING reference or two to placate the oh so knowledgeable), only to hit them hard when the narrative moves from humor to horror in one fell swoop. A further tribute to Mortier's prowess as a filmmaker comes from the local media's hysterical reactions to the movie, leading to a subsequent ban from cinema mogul Kinepolis (temporary, as they relented by the second week of release due to fairly impressive audience figures at rival theaters), screaming of extremes that are ultimately far more implied than actually shown. Proving that viewer imagination's a potent thing, this does in no way make EX-DRUMMER any less of a radical movie-going experience. The music (by the likes of Flip Kowlier, Millionaire and, yep, Arno) may shatter your ear-drums, but the story breaks your heart. None of these people are anywhere near monstrous or caricatures (even a character whose nickname translates as "Big Dick", played by the phenomenal Jan Hammenecker from Fred Fonteyne's MAX ET BOBO, is granted a surprising humanity) so that in the end they force every single one of us to take a long hard look at ourselves, our so-called "dark side", warts and all. Perhaps the movie's best joke, conspiratorially played on us by Brusselmans and Mortier, is that its nihilist surface covers an enriching ? dare I say "life-enhancing" (or should I leave that to the Prozac-popping folks at Hallmark ? ? experience. But don't take my word for it. Go check it out for yourself. Pronto !
June 22, 2009
Spinal Tap on 5 kilos of acid and PCP. I.e. One of the greatest films of the millennium. Gritty and confrontational, it isn't shy about any of its personality which I would suspect it of being a great adaptation. There's stuff here with the off-putting realism of Gummo and it'll offend and shock hetero males and feminists. I found it to be highly enjoyable and hilarious. Each character with his own disability - who comes up with that? Haha. Though their craziness you can't help but like. Great directorial effort which captures the savagery of "squalid life" and that exposes some unusually funny visions for human body parts. The coolness and soundtrack make me wish I didn't give up on guitar; or rather, inspire. Mongoloid!
July 9, 2014
obviously it isnt a family flick.
the camera work is very creative and even if the plot may not be great it is a quick look into the lives of a bunch of bizzarro misfits.
The main argument of this story is about a rich famous guy who wants to live the way those lowlifes lived having always an escape route. And its exactly what the viewer gets: A glimpse to that world having the oportunity to stop the movie at any time if they find it way to hard for them.
March 19, 2013
Loved it! Completely sick, incredibely raw, gritty, bold and bloody portrait of niilism and vulgarity! Loved it even more than Man Bites Dog!
July 6, 2012
Mensen zijn lelijk, en dat is grappig. De film ook.
October 26, 2011
Do yourself a favour and watch this movie. Brilliant, intriguing and disgusting.
June 22, 2011
Para tocar duro y pegar más fuerte
April 30, 2011
Mostly a movie about extremely dysfunctional people screaming at each other, this well-crafted Belgian film offers up some super weirdness and a fantastic - mostly heavy - soundtrack. One character actually lives on his ceiling, which is more jolting to watch than you think. The movie ends with a chaotic punk gig and a maelstrom of violence and mayhem. Fabulous. RT is claiming this is a 2011 release. Way off; this is at least a couple of years old.
FilmGrinder S.
September 15, 2010
Seedy, gritty, with style, set with a backdrop of kick ass music. Human depravity at its ugliest. Stop breeding you mongoloids. Not for the faint of heart.
David H.
September 9, 2010
WOW this is the Ultimate Burner Belgian Dark Comedy at it's finest so disturbing and nihilistic this Guys are real Hard-Assed Freaks and the Soundtrack is Awesome
April 21, 2010
After 1,5 hours of drugs, pointless violence, hard pornography and a delicate scene of homosexual anal rape with a 20" penis, the only thing actually offensive is how hard the movie tries to offend. Anxious to be both shocking and nihilistic, the result is a boring, hyperbolic and essentially unauthentic portrayal of punk subculture not even a 6-year-old Amish would buy, flavoured with random artsyness in the shape of a grumpy, up-to-every-trick hemingwayesque protagonist plus a couple of bizarre ideas for a whiff of Naked Lunch and those scandinavian social-outcast comedies that were funny and sold well before going stale in spring 2005.
Ex Drummer goes where others stopped going in the early 90s while lacking sense and credibility of story, characters, dialogues and everything else. 30% though, just to set it off from Dogma, because every conceivable movie is definitely much better than Dogma.
Burger W.
April 21, 2010
A great black comedy. Lots of drugs, wacky sex and disturbingly hilarious moments.

Good music too
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