It’s late at night, and I see a thriller called An Awful Thing Has Gone And Happened (2022). Settling back the brain kicks in thinking I may see gun battles, car chases, and maybe a love story with a dark twist. The title alone makes me think this may be something odd, I mean who makes a title like that unless you are To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995).
The film opens at night when one sees Augustus (John Dixon) wielding a large gun in a car trying to get up the courage. Over this, a screechy radio caller (Fiddling Leona) is going on about something totally different. Augustus mutters to himself, then gets out and trots to a spot where he digs up a cooler that is filled with money. Out of the darkness comes a figure that is revealed as Augustus’s father. Augustus is startled by his presence which is broken up by the gunfire and running with a cooler that all suddenly becomes easy to handle. Change that to a software office with Birdie (Maggie Wehr) being somewhat harassed by her supervisor (Donovan Kirkpatrick) for work she needs to do. The talk is interrupted by Maggie’s phone call telling her in a very folksy voice of Tucker Riddles (Eric Hoover) that Augustus her brother has been murdered and she should come down to decide arrangements. The callous Supervisor is in the background bouncing the ball and seems more concerned about the work needed but will give sanctimonious time.
Birdie who arrives in town finds her father is missing and sets out to find out why and the circumstances of her brother’s death. To do this she must navigate through a bevy of odd characters like Samuel (Levi Krevinghaus) who plays a house-coated, homicidal gun runner who cries about his dog that has passed, Brooks (Martin Charles) the high school friend of Birdie who thinks Nashville is Big time and the guy who started shooting because you always want your money from a heist, the well-inked Ramsey (Robert LaSardo). Birdie is assisted by the best-intentioned by the book police person in the form of Sheriff Mayfield (Minka Wiltz). Oh, Birdie finds out what happens and it’s not what you may think as the story winds its way to a conclusion in a field.
The credits roll and I sit back wondering what I just watched. I conclude it’s an uneasy combo of a Coen Brothers story tossed in with some Guy Ritchie and you have an overcooked meal. Too much flavour and not enough substance.
I think back to moments, and I recall shifting in my chair not out of shock or uneasiness but simply pacing and a flood of dialogue. An Awful Thing Has Gone And Happened (2022) is overwritten with long periods of characters talking in what looks like a theatre production setting than a film. An example is the long scene with Ramsey (Robert LaSardo) holding Birdie and Sheriff Mayfield hostage in Birdie’s father’s home. As an actor, I would suggest that Mr. LaSardo loved the camera time and the dialogue as he expounds esoterically about the situation, the money, and Birdie’s brother and father. The moment reminded me of Christopher Walken expounding on his relationship with his father in The Comfort Of Strangers (1990).
I settle back in my own chair and find that the most memorable aspect of this film is literally the work of Maggie Wehr as Birdie. She has the wide-eyed I am on a roller coaster to somewhere look and feel about her as the story moves. Wehr is the anchor of the film, and she handles all of it well along with physical work, shooting, driving a bike, running etc. This is astonishing as I check and see this is her second film appearance. Wehr has the ‘Final Girl’ look and will be heard from again sometime as she is quite a revelation.
An Awful Thing Has Gone And Happened (2022) is for those that like talkative, odd films with bursts of action and a slightly twisty poignant ending. The self-induced script that looks like a reject from Coen Brothers could use some pruning. For heist film fans with a lovely performance by Maggie Wehr and some others if you can catch them it makes for an interesting if not perplexing experience. I shuffle on down the lonely street into the night.
An Awful Thing Has Gone And Happened is out now on Blu-ray (Region Free) in the USA from BayView Entertainment.
An Awful Thing Has Gone And Happened is also available to rent/buy on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Amazon Prime Video in the USA.
Available to order on Blu-ray (Region FREE) now at: