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Til Death Do Us Part

Although it resembles the far sleekier “Ready or Not,” Timothy Woodward Jr.'s actioner “Til Death Do Us Part” never gets near that level of competence. Instead, screenwriters Chad Law and Shane Dax Taylor keep their audience in the dark, any semblance of world-building or storytelling be damned.

We start at what looks like a stock footage recreation of a wedding, but the Bride (Natalie Burn) looks uneasy. Then we cut to what looks like a honeymoon on a sandy Puerto Rican beach. The Bride is flirting and embracing her groom (Ser'Darius Blain) as they talk along the shore. Later that night, they can’t keep their hands to themselves, earning the judgment of an older couple (Jason Patric and Nicole Arlyn) who tells them their love will also fade as theirs has. The story jumps back to the couple’s wedding night, where the Bride gets cold feet and runs off to a family cabin to regroup. Her groom’s coterie of dimwitted and misogynist bachelors show up, inciting violence. It turns out the “university” that the Bride and Groom joked about on the beach wasn’t an academic setting but some kind of nebulous syndicate of assassins that only seem to kill other assassins. If folks complained that the High Table in the “John Wick” series was too much, at least it's an ethos with rules. Here, it seems like “the university” rules don’t matter or are only meant to be recited through gritted teeth and rewritten but a few moments later. 

The problem with keeping your viewers in the dark about what is happening when and who is attacking who for what reasons is that you can confuse them, and all they can focus on is the mess you’ve made. Not that there is much else to look at: the action sequences are tough to watch between the lackluster fight choreography and the extra shaky camera work during fights that detract from the combatants. The bachelor party’s dialogue is so unpleasant I wanted the Bride to hurry up and finish them all off already. 

There are also occasional filmmaker mistakes and sloppy one-liners, like, “If you’re so tough, come and get me, you piece-of-shit,” delivered with a deadweight thud. Other questionable story and direction choices make the movie downright silly. Towards the end, a major backstory detail is revealed after all the cutting between the bloody wedding day and the beachy honeymoon. It's as comical as putting a hat on a hat. At this point, it’s a parody. 

Is there anything worth salvaging if your action movie falls flat on the action front? Not in “Til Death Do Us Part.” It feels as if Burn might be channeling a tough Bride character, a la Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill,” but her inability to move past a scowl for most of the movie flattens her performance. Her main antagonist, the Best Man (Cam Gigandet), is more annoying than frightening, especially when leading a group of dudes with nicknames like T-Bone and Big Sexy. Although he doesn’t have much screen time, Blain as the Groom plays the ominous part of a controlling partner, a confident co-conspirator, and a charming date all in one. He may have the movie’s best performance. 

But none of this exhausting movie's various elements come together at any point—not the story, filmmaking, and acting. It practically assaults its viewer with its dullness; each punch is a reminder of how tiresome each verbal and physical exchange is. I wanted a divorce long before the credits rolled. 

Now playing in theaters. 

Monica Castillo

Monica Castillo is a critic, journalist, programmer, and curator based in New York City. She is the Senior Film Programmer at the Jacob Burns Film Center and a contributor to RogerEbert.com.

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Film Credits

Til Death Do Us Part movie poster

Til Death Do Us Part (2023)

Rated NR

Cast

Cam Gigandet as Best Man

Jason Patric as Husband

Nicole Arlyn as Wife

Natalie Burn as Bride

Ser'Darius Blain as Groom

Director

Writer

Cinematographer

Editor

Composer

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