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Tony - horror DVD review
TONY Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Peter Ferdinando, Ricky Grover, Neil Maskell, Lorenzo Camporese, Lucy Flack
Director: Gerard Johnson   Distributor: Revolver Entertainment
DVD release: 06 April 2010   Runtime: 78 minutes (1 disc)
Format: NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English), Audio commentary (writer/director Johnson, star Ferdinando, producer Dan McCulloch), Original TONY short film, Short crime drama MUG

Peter Ferdinando stars in TONYGerard Johnson's excellent TONY doesn't really investigate the genesis of a serial killer, but we can easily see how continued social abuses can exacerbate the situation. Tony, an unemployed schlub who kind of reminds me of Robert Crumb minus the charisma, shuffles around the streets of London trying to establish connections with so many people, all of whom shun Tony at best - shout at him or physically abuse him at worst. There's just something about Tony that inspires abuse from those he meets.

Tony tries to strike up a conversation with a guy selling bootleg DVDs on the street, hoping to get him to come up with VHS tapes for him of any action movie at all. The guy doesn't say a word to him. If it were me, I'd wonder if I'd died in the night and become a ghost, but for Tony it's status quo. He moves on. The only thing that sets the scales right for Tony seems to be killing people he manages to lure into his shoddy little apartment.

He meets junkies in a phone booth (they kick him out) and strikes up a deal to go in on some smack with them. One of them - the more viciously abusive of the two - he kills while the other sleeps. The other is allowed to leave. He's a killer, but he seems to have a code of honor.

This film isn't a gore fest. We see Tony kill and dispose of entrails, but it's not often and it's not for the awful sprays of blood that might be seen. It's more of a study of a killer in the routine of his day. Go to a pub, get verbally abused, go home, watch a movie, go to a bar, kill a guy. It's not salacious at all but frankly fascinating. Tony is not Hannibal Lecter. He's not an intellectual giant, but he's smart enough to not get caught. There are moments of pure tension associated with nice people Tony meets and a missing boy, but no Hollywood ending. We root for Tony, but we hope he doesn't kill.

Peter Ferdinando is excellent as Tony, having transformed himself from a pretty nice-looking fellow to this skinny, awkward guy with a bad haircut. His mannerisms are crafted to portray the perfect social recluse. Keep your eye on Ferdinando; if TONY is any indication, he will go far.

Director Gerard Johnson has crafted a simple, wonderful film that has been favorably compared to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. I'd have to agree, though TONY deserves to stand on its own. If I make my guess, people will be comparing future films favorably with TONY. Not bad for a first feature.

Extras include commentary with director Gerard Johnson, producer Dan McCulloch and actor Peter Ferdinando. Also included are two of Johnson's short films: the crime drama Mug and the original short film Tony.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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