“The biggest problem with domestic violence is victims staying in abusive relationships too long. So how do you get victims out of abusive relationships earlier? Are there films that might do it?” stated Steve Kokette in his email to our Editor in Chief regarding his film One Punch Homicide. After watching the 87-minute film though, does the film deliver a powerful message? Not in the way it wanted sadly.
One Punch Homicide, released in April of 2012, seeks to address the issue of domestic violence and how it affects people’s lives and the lives of those involved in the incidents. The film cuts between short summaries of violent confrontations and interviews with those in jail for domestic violence charges. It also has a few interviews with people who have been affected by the issue as well, such as victims and friends. At its core, this film has a great message, however the reason it’s hard to recommend is everything besides its content.
From the beginning the film immediately gives off a short film small budget vibe. The film suffered from the normal issues one might experience in a short film, such as too much reliance on natural lighting, poor audio, little to no rehearsal, and most certainly quick assembly editing. While one can blame the bulk of these issues on the fact it was released almost a decade ago, can you really? When short films like Broken Cycle, Tell, and The Killing Joke released the same year, all of which received awards for their craftsmanship.
An example of some of the rough editing we saw was in one of the interviews with a convict in jail. The audio was poor across the board but was most irritating with the interviewer. The interviewer had some of his questions dubbed over, but other questions weren’t, which was quite jarring on the first viewing. We ended up having to listen to some questions in one audio quality and other questions in another. Couple this kind of audio editing with poor camera quality, random cuts to narration, and overall poor direction, and it was a jumbled viewing experience.
The film has an excellent message at its core. Violence is never worth it, rarely does getting involved in violent confrontation end up good. It is certainly a message more people need to hear. Unfortunately, the film is bogged down by poor camerawork, lackluster audio, and testimonials that no longer apply well to the present day. Hearing of how some of these convicts went to jail intervening in a fight on someone else’s behalf, or were defending themselves and being punished for it. Those rarely apply now in an America with more defined self-defense laws or the Stand Your Ground Law. Perhaps if this film were remade, with better camera work, improved audio, more cohesive editing, and more poignant messaging, it would fare better.
After giving the film two viewings and talking about it extensively, we here at Stoutonia admire the film’s attempt at relaying an important message. To come at such difficult source material and try to deliver a well-structured message is never easy. Perhaps if we were reviewing it without the film standards of today, it would be different. However, the poor cinematography really took us out of the film, and it felt more like us watching a high school media project. Our verdict is a 2.5/5.