We greet Sonny (Devin Das) and Noah (Ahmed Bharoocha) as they are pressuring unsuspecting couples into buying life insurance. in the darkly comedic horror film Keeping Company. The two could not be more opposite; Sonny is ruthlessly ambitious with his vision solely focused on advancing his career. Noah is the epitome of a woke male, to the extent his niceness is nauseating.
Yet they have their vulnerabilities. Sonny’s deep inferiority comes from the shame he brings his father for not being more successful, and he hungrily hangs on Paula’s empty promises to make him VP (Gillian Vigman). Noah is hung up on being adopted and is determined to create the perfect life, which of course brings out the demons when things don’t go to plan.
One fateful day, Sonny and Noah literally have a run in with a nervous man named Lucas (Jacob Grodnik ), who flees the scene. They chase him down and insist that he can only avoid arrest by buying insurance. Later, chained in his basement, they suspect this was probably the wrong person to hard-sell.
The characters are intentionally over the top and bombastic, and each actor delivers their performance with flawless energy. Whilst Sonny and Noah could have remained two dimensional, we see glimpses into their psyche. Sonny’s career climbing seems to be rooted in shame, his father regarding him a constant disappointment despite his own failings. Noah’s own family background has lead him to create a picture perfect family and life, and his demons quickly come to the fore when this is threatened.
Lucas appears to be the classic Norman Bates serial killer at the mercy of his controlling Grandmother, yet his absent father and loss of his mother provides depth and a humorous opportunity for male bonding with Noah. In my mind, and in the mind of the writers, he is the only character who has a clearly defined arc where he questions his life choices. Be prepared to fall in love with the very character you thought you would hate.
The set design and styling in Keeping Company seemed oddly familiar, it was only after interviewing Devin and Wallace did I place it. The set design reminded me of the Coen brothers classic; Suburbicon. It gives Keeping Company a big budget gloss and creates a world for these believably bombastic characters to play in. There are a fair few Easter eggs for the discerning viewer. Look out for nods towards Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman.
There is just the right amount of gore without being fully explicit; keeping the focus firmly on the storyline. Whilst at first you may think this is a simply a rambunctious ride to a predictable end, the midway point starts to reveal the films darker undertones . There is commentary on everything from politics, the problems of a capitalist society and the views that the insurance system in the US costs lives, leaving insurance companies with ‘blood on their hands’.
Keeping Company is a delirious and darkly comic ride through the murderous insanity of capitalism. It is definitely worth your uncomfortable laughter.