interesting film but inaccurate towards autism
First and foremost this film is about the blues and the story of a
delinquent stuck in a baptist halfway-house who must play in a sappy
band with fellow halfway-house delinquents when they really just want to
the blues. In this respect, the film was interesting and relatively well
story arc was laid out plain and predictable, but still enjoyable
My criticism of the film comes when the film's autistic character Verne
story as a piano prodigy with an affinity for driving an invisible fantasy
me, this portrayal of autism is marred by typical on-screen half-truths
ignorance in understanding this unfortunate disorder. I will state
however, that I am certainly not an expert in defining autism, nor do I
autistic people. However, it is clear to see that Killer Diller was not
They started with trueish conceptions of autism: that those who have it
communication disorders, preoccupation with fantasy, repetitive acts and
attachment to objects.
However, Verne, the autistic character in this film, was more less
late-teens autistic child who has apparently never received significant
for his condition and thus he is basically just a socially awkward kid who
an invisible car, shakes all the time, has to pee all the time, and goes
when anyone questions his "rocking." But in the end, with just a little
socializing and positive feedback about his piano skills, Verne is another
success story, able to at once overcome what would have been severe speech
impediments, years of social disfunction and other problems all without
treatment, therapy or any real help.
The problem with this is that it looks like the film makers just watched
and watered down the formula. All autistic children, of course, will
their most severe problems sometime in adulthood through random
and socialization. Afterall, their speech impediments are never really all
limiting, really just idiosyncrasies to be overcome with a few laughs. But
resonable since all autistic people are really just idiot savants in
Rainman is a counting genius and Verne from Killer Diller is a piano
This, to me, is dangerous, the concept of always simplifying disorders
manageable characters who can overcome their "hang-ups" in 90 mins or two
hours. I'm not saying either cases are inconceivable, but the sad truth is
communication problems caused by autism are typically overcome after
considerable work with a doctor, etc. from EARLY childhood. Verne,
is a case that in which the character is supposedly not treated or not
treated at all and can suddenly overcome speech impediment once he accepts
his surrounding social situation. He really has no vocabulary or
problems, just a little stumbles here and there, a few quirky repeats, a
kilter statements, a few simplistic, childish speeches. I think that if
real, he would unfortunately never be able to carry on a conversation with
typical language. His chances of being a piano prodigy wouldn't be too
excellent....okay, you get the idea.
One last criticism: the acting of Verne in this film was not very strong.
this was a low budget feature with no real "name" actors attached, etc.
Dustin Hoffman is an accomplished actor who takes his character studies to
limit. His taste for reseach and observation/immitation almost always
believability-- at least a considerable degree--to his roles, Rainman
exception. In this case, the actor to play Verne seemingly went to little
trouble then to take cues from the director just before the take. "Ok,
Verne, umm...., rock back and forth....and act like you need to go to the
bathroom. Okay? Okay. Roll Sound. Roll Camera."
And so on... anyway, I honestly don't know how much research went into the
role of Verne, and it very well may have been treated with care. But I
didn't get that impression. Verne's place in the film ranged from comic
agency for change for the main character to superficial change into a
well-adjusted guy. I just didn't think he was treated with respect. The
mention/serious handling of his condition was with a doctor of sorts who
on his autism only in passing. If you wanted to leave this film as is, why
cut that scene and claim that Verne is just a kooky, weird guy instead of
character with autism, a guy who would have been dealing with a serious
condition all of his life and probably wouldn't have come out so socially
shahraki watch Shao Lin San Shi Liu Fang movie
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it was a nice horror movie......like it..... i am still a fan of this site.
Killer Diller Rockin' Blues
I almost didn't see the movie because of the title, then I read the
description in the SXSW directory, and I'm glad I did; it's up there
my favorite films from the 2004 selections.
A real killer diller, can really play, according to Vernon (Lucas Black),
austic savant at piano, who crosses paths with Wesley (William Lee Scott),
car thief sent in a halfway house. Wesley has a way of getting into
trouble, but this time, manages to get something right, by striking up a
friendship with Vernon, and turning the halfway house gospel group into a
rockin band. The music is real killer diller, the acting engaging, and
crisis is plotted out very realistically. Scott and Black both do
outstanding jobs in their roles, and they have chemistry as unlikely
friends; you believe the bond. W. Earl Brown is equally believable as the
gruff, loving father who does what he can to love and protect his son.
Willard, as the director of the halfway house, provides comic relief by
believing in his mission to help the kids and in joyfully spiting his
brother, who doesn't think a bunch of criminals belong in their community.
The music is outstanding; director Tricia Brock got the blues, by bringing
in real bluesmen like Keb Mo' and Tree Adams to work the soundtrack and to
work with the Killer Diller Blues Band. And actress Niki Crawford does her
own singing (and the SXSW audience heard live proof of it). I hope there
a soundtrack released; the music is hot, rocking blues. See this