Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Do It Yourself: Going Viral in Greece

There are people out there whose driving ambition is to go viral. Not Alkis Vidalis. He is no genius, but he understands people usually go viral for bad things—painful things. That is especially true of the “if-you’re-watching-this-I-must-be-dead” video he just recorded to clear the name of a very crooked dirty movie mogul. He was supposed to be relocated under a new identity, but Vidalis can tell they intend to fake-it-so-real. Vidalis is no fighter, but he will run, hide, and sneak as best he can in Dimitris Tsilifonis’s Do It Yourself, which releases today on DVD and VOD, from Artsploitation.

Vidalis was a small-time crook nominally associated with Joseph Forkou’s syndicate, which is why a final testament video from him implicating Forkou and clearing Daniel Bezerianos would be convincing. Unfortunately, it would be far more compelling if he were dead. Not being as dumb as he looks, Vidalis continues to play nice with Bezerianos’s production team but he slinks away at the first opportunity. Bezerianos’s dirty video studio is a huge building, so Vidalis hopes to just find a dark corner to hide in, but that will not be realistic. As the cat-and-mouse game escalates, Vidalis invites Forkou’s gang to the party. That might be a bit of an out-of-the-frying-pan kind of strategy, but at least it will shake things up.

Characterization in Do It Yourself is not even an inch deep (and the title doesn’t make much sense), but none of that interests Tsilifonis. Instead, DIY is a super slick exercise in rats-in-a-maze action, fully loaded with narrow escapes, near misses, and darkly comic bloody mayhem, Think of it as vintage Tarantino with tzatziki sauce.

As Vidalis, Konstadinos Aspiotis is hardly an electric presence, but he is credible enough skulking around and getting the snot kicked out of him. Frankly, the real star is cinematographer Angelos Papadopoulos, who gives it all an uber-stylish, Michael Mann-esque high-gloss shine. Editor Lambis Haralambidis also deserves credit for smoothly cutting together all the twists and doubling-back.

Yes, Do It Yourself is a case of style over substance, very much in the way as Tom Twyker’s Run Lola Run, but with more lurid trappings. Tsilifonis keeps the tension cranked up and maintains a bracing pace. It is all just good, cynical fun. Recommended for fans of Die Hard-esque, dude-loose-in-a-building thrillers, Do It Yourself releases today (3/5) on DVD and VOD.