Criticism | On the count of three: Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish in incredible suicide drama

Watched movie during Sundance Film Festival 2021

A subversive anecdote about loyalty and friendship between two friends, On The Count of Three is not the kind of dramatic comedy to expect. Flirting much more with drama than with humor, the production is a mixture of the feelings of its own protagonists and its script is built exactly from the emotional and conflicting oscillations of each of them, experienced here brilliantly by Jerrod Carmichael and Christopher Abbott.

While Carmichael still makes his directorial debut, the acclaimed comedian breaks through the most unusual barriers and brings complex and delicate themes like racism, depression and suicidal thoughts to the center of the plot. Based on a script that knows how to balance such disparate subjects with an acid and sometimes bitter humor, the director surrounds the audience with a depth that will not make them forget the film anytime soon.

Bringing in a screenplay signed by Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch, the production follows two best friends who decide to make a pact to kill each other, after living lives full of frustration and trauma. But before the fateful end brings their respective suffering to an end, they will have a single day of reckoning, where the past and unresolved circumstances will come to the surface for what promises to be the last time.

Anguishing and overwhelming, On the Count of Three is able to absorb us on screen, take us as a whole and stifle our breath with precision. Taking us to the protagonists ’emotional extremes in the most synaesthetic way possible, the drama is able to be both intense, mildly comedic, and deeply drastic for audiences and makes them buy into their characters’ motivations with ease.

Promoting an almost cathartic journey, Carmichael and Abbott disappear into their roles and reveal a passionate relationship dynamic that only reinforces the plot. With surprising performances, they quickly become the essence of this feature, which at times seems to make a meticulous psychological study of suicide and emotional illnesses. And here, Abbott is still able to steal the show in the production’s most iconic moments, showing the versatility and richness of his performance – as an actor who has everything to win awards in the future.

With a mature and cohesive direction, which explores the shadows – always highlighting the expressiveness of its protagonists – On The Count of Three maintains its maximum intensity from start to finish. Delivering a result that powerfully contradicts its intentional and chaotic start, the production transforms its controversial themes into a surprising and unexpected debate about the hope of a new beginning, even amid the chaos of a suffering and exhausted soul.

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