Writer and Director: Louise Linton
Louise Linton’s new comedy film, Me, You, Madness arrives in the UK dripping in blood, not primarily because of its story involving a uber rich female psychopath but because it was utterly savaged by the American critics on its release in February. They saw no redeeming features in a movie made by the wife of a senior figure in the early Trump administration. Yet, coming to digital download on 19th April, as a new outlet, the rom com Me, You, Madness has an enjoyable tongue-in-cheek silliness.
Catherine Black is a narcissistic, wealthy businesswoman with no moral code, a materialistic passion for showy possessions and the odd psychopathic tendency to kill unsuitable men and eat them. Into her beautiful Malibu home wanders petty thief Tyler posing as a potential housemate in order to case the property. Yet, Catherine knows exactly what Tyler is doing and so begins a murderous battle of wills where they will either fall in love or die trying.
Setting aside Linton’s very public persona and political associations, Me, You, Madness offers a novel twist in a very tired genre with a shameless lead who has far more agency than equivalent rom com heroines whose only purpose in life is to find a man. Catherine Black on the other hand eats them for dinner. That Linton approaches this as a send-up works well, maintaining a consistently heightened tone that frequently breaks the fourth wall.
Such meta references are sprinkled through the film as Catherine addresses the audience directly, outwardly and jokingly noting her story’s links to movies like American Psycho and the 80s classics that influence the visual design by Reinhart Peschke and Boa Simon, and musical style (by Max Aruj) of the film. It includes a number of neon-lit montages and dance interludes styled like music videos with an amusing sequence in which Ed Westwick prances round the house in a silky red dressing gown and pants.
That Linton’s film does not take itself remotely seriously can be very enjoyable and while perhaps based around a single elongated joke in which Linton spends far too long objectifying herself and drooling over the conspicuous consumption of her character, the chemistry between Linton and Westwick’s opposites sustains a film which largely takes place in a single location at the Malibu mansion. This includes a well-managed sequence later in the movie as Catherine and Tyler stalk one another around its many rooms that builds a tension which Linton frequently undercuts with visual jokes about costume changes and increasingly outlandish weapons.
Linton fully assumes the role of Catherine and is deliberately not a character with whom we are asked to empathise. And she is convincing, maintaining a cool composure and control throughout, revelling in the silliness of the scenario she has created. Westwick is equally skilled as the charming but foolish Tyler whose survival instinct and wiles make him a good match for Catherine, showcasing the comic timing that have typified his best performances.
On the surface, there is a lot to dislike about Me, You, Madness, the obsession with possessions is vulgar, the characters are shallow and the scenario ridiculous, but Linton’s film entertains, maintains a decent pace throughout and knows how silly it is. Some parts of the scenario may be a little too close to the life of its creator for some, but it gives the rom com a fiendish twist that is dripping in blood.
Released on Digital Download on 19 April 2021