Say Your Prayers
Two radical Christian brothers-turned-hitmen struggle and stumble during actor and director Harry Michell’s latest feature, Say Your Prayers, a dark and quintessentially British comedy. Set in the spa town of Ilkley during the annual Literature Festival, the film follows the duo as they grapple with their morality and trauma during a mission to assassinate an influential atheist author. The picture is packed full of punchy dialogue and strong performances, and despite awkward pacing and outdated tropes, it proves to be a compelling watch, showcasing Christian extremism and murder before a backdrop of angelic live choral music.
Co-written by Michell and Jamie Fraser, Say Your Prayers is your typical crime-comedy laced with drama, which centres around two orphans who have become religious fanatics, innocent Tim (Harry Melling) and hot-headed Vic (Tom Brooke). The pair venture to Yorkshire with one goal in mind: to kill the pompous Professor John Huxley (Roger Allam), author of the best-seller God Is Awful and “a bit of a knob head”. However, as mistakes are made and police involvement increases, plans are thrown into jeopardy and the soft-hearted Tim, overcome with guilt, starts having doubts. The clear premise paired with the witty script leads to tense scenes, amongst some more laborious and hokey moments.
Despite the story’s high stakes, Say Your Prayers’ pacing tends to falter, making parts feel inconsequential and tedious. Further exasperated by a string of stereotypical characters serving primarily as vessels for dated one-liners, the screenplay at points falls flat. The hardened investigator, her sentimental partner and snobby authors, while humorous, feel vapid in comparison with the brilliant portrayal of the protagonists.
The chemistry and impeccable performances of Melling and Brookes as the central duo adds heart-breaking complexity to the film and proves to be the standout feature. Their contrasting reactions to guilt and their unwavering brotherly devotion in a world that laughs at and abandons them brings a sense of emotional maturity to their murder attempts. As the plot unravels and tensions rise, the strong acting from the two perfectly distracts from the faults of other characters, stealing focus and gripping attention.
Although suffering from a few eye-rolling clichés, Say Your Prayers is a fun watch. Packed full of dark themes and hilarious moments, it’s a movie that will make you laugh as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Say Your Prayers is released digitally on demand on 28th September 2020.
Watch the trailer for Say Your Prayers here: