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Being an American, I often take Hollywood for granite. Sure, many major Hollywood productions are bloated cash-grabs that often pander to the lowest common denominator. I mean, they made a God damned Emoji Movie! But what is often forgotten about Hollywood is how it has inspires billions of movie goers. Not just with gut-busting comedies, mind bending practical special effects, and gripping tales of love and loss that have stuck with us for generations. But how it has inspired people, from all over the world, to take that leap of faith and set out to MAKE movies. Because when you don’t have all of Hollywood’s resources backing your vision, I guess you’ll just have to do it yourself.

Do It Yourself, the 2017 film from Greek writer and director Dimitris Tsilifonis, begins with what appears to be a final hour confession – broadcast live on Youtube – from a yet unnamed man who fears for his life. He, Alkis, goes on to explain how he had a run in with a wealthy business owner in prison who was framed from crimes he didn’t commit. This man, Daniel Bezerianos, offers Alkis a reward for infiltrating the crime organization of Joseph Forkou upon his release. Forkou is the man behind Bezerianos’ frame-up and it is now Alkis’ job to gather evidence that will exhortation Bezarianos. Alkis got the evidence he needed, but not before thins went South and how Alkis is being hunted by Forkou.

Of course this all is the backdrop for what happens next, This Youtube confession is a bit of a staged affair held inside a re-tooled apartment building now used for making films of the adult variety. It’s where people pay money to do seedy things and catch these things on film. No one asks any questions, because no one really wants to know the answers.

Once Alkis has made his theatrical contribution to Bezerianos’ cause, he knows that it isn’t long before he will be taken out by a hitman. He known this from his extensive working knowledge of gritty Hollywood crime thrillers. He recognizes that he is a loose end, and loose ends are always dealt with in the crime world.

Now Alkis must find his way out of the porn palace without being detected, but once he is, it becomes a fight to survive.

Do It Yourself is an interesting kind of action movie that seems to borrow a little bit from both McGuyver – finding creative ways to make tools and weapons from whatever happens to be laying around – hence the title Do It Yourself, and Raid: Redemption – as our main character has to make his way out of this low rent movie studio one floor at a time. Thou, this is more a film about sneaking and resourcefulness than full on ass-whoopin’ action – as you would find in Raid: Redemption, but, you get the idea.

The relationship between Alkis, Bezerianos and Forkou is more than it seems, written with plenty of twists and turns and nothing is quite what it seams. It’s written very tense, with layers and plenty of paranoia.

What’s interesting about DIY isn’t just it’s premise with Alkis’ fight for survival, but rather something that the film itself is willing to point out. That he, and Greek filmmakers, tend to follow in the footsteps of Hollywood. Imitating iconic Hollywood characters and iconic Hollywood storylines. This is a little bit self-deprecating, but I’m sure this is true for ANY aspiring filmmaker – to match what Hollywood has achieved and to get paid doing it.

This is an idea that I would take one step further, extending past filmmakers and people in the biz, but to the movie goers themselves. We as movie fans, and as one of several generations who grew up watching movies in theaters, on television, renting and now streaming them in our homes, have learned an incredible amount about the world around us from watching movies.

Even the most timid of moviegoers has learned how to operate a twelve gauge pump action shotgun, most likely from watching James Cameron’s Terminator 2. And that’s not to mention all the Pulp Fiction dance movies, Point Break existential philosophy lessons and which one-liners that are most appropriate when approaching “Da Chappa!”. Just food for thought.

Beyond the obvious, the acting and production values of Do It Yourself are all top notch for this suspense filled indie feature. The cinematography is also worth mentioning, as several scenes involve long tracking shots. One of which leaves the inside of an elevator, follows a man down a hallway before rising up through a window to the roof. This is either a composite of several pieces of footage, cleverly edited together OR, it may have just been a drone that was hand-held until it reached an area with enough headroom to take flight. Being an indie film, my money is on the latter, Either way, it took some ingenuity and planning to pull off so seamlessly.

Do It Yourself is a paranoid battle for power among a group of very dangerous men, and our main character is just trying to make it out alive. If you’re in the mood for a crime thriller blended with an inversion of Saw, then Do It Yourself is the movie for you. It was recently made available on DVD a VOD by the fine people over at Artsploitation Films.

Reviewer | Producer & Editor | Resident Conspiracy Theorist

A blue collar dude with facial hair that would make his Norse ancestors proud. He is a collector of comic books, retro video games, and obscure relics from the VHS era.


★ ★ ★ ½