Wauwatosa East and West Student News

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Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Movie Review: On the Count of Three


The 2022 film On the Count of Three directed by Jerrod Carmichael sees Val (Jerrod Carmichael) and Kevin (Christopher Abbott) live out their last day of life in order to get closure after agreeing to a suicide pact. Carmichael worked with writers Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch to capture the actualities of someone struggling with their mental health. 

“It’s a difficult film to get made because they are very daring writers who took on the subject matter and really immersed themselves in it. They use personal experiences, conversations with therapists, and attended anonymous meetings, and did all of the research by actually taking on this world and treating suicide as we see it and feel it,” said Carmichael in an interview with The Playlist.

Their journey includes a subplot to murder Kevin’s childhood psychiatrist and sexual abuser Dr. Brenner (Henry Winkler). It also entails a visit to Val’s father Lyndell (J.B. Smoove) at his car workshop, a race at a dirt bike park owned by their friend Donny (Lavell Crawford), and a quick stop at the home of Val’s girlfriend Natasha (Tiffany Haddish).  

“It was a pretty long process of writing it, putting it down, rewriting it, putting it down again. We were working on the script even as we were shooting the film,” said scriptwriter Ryan Welch in an interview with Digital Trends. 

The concept of having the movie take place in one day is unique and is carried out pretty well. 

Though, Carmicheal does try to add humor to the story which fell short and was unnecessary. On the other hand, there are tense and emotional scenes that make the movie intriguing. The soundtrack however, takes away from these scenes as there isn’t much intensity to it. The soundtrack establishes a calm theme to the movie when that is rarely the case. 

The most impactful aspect of the film is the acting. Jerrod Carmichael and Christopher Abbott play their characters flawlessly and make for an incredible duo. The way they both grew throughout the story was captured perfectly. Kevin has battled depression his whole life and it has led to internal instability. There’s a very reckless side to him and Abbott understood exactly how to portray that. Val has some external conflicts of his own that influence his thought process. Like Abbott, Carmichael’s portrayal of Val fits the problems he faces. 

The messages that the movie conveys through interactions and relationships in this film also need to be mentioned. There’s a small, but crazy interaction between Kevin and the clerk at the gas station. Kevin, who is in need of assistance, is flat out ignored by the clerk. He then grabs the attention of the clerk and is finally helped.

“When a customer is talking, you listen bro. It hurts to be ignored,” says Kevin. This scene shows that even the small things can really affect someone’s mental health. 

So, is On the Count of Three worth watching? That really depends on the viewer. The entire plot is centered around suicide and that can be a very sensitive topic for many people. If you’re looking for deeper understanding of the realities of mental health and suicide, it is definitely worth watching. In fact, that’s the main reason that this movie was created for. 

“I think this is speaking to a real topic that people should think of. Depression’s real, you know; it consumes people’s lives,” said Carmichael. “It’s a cloud that exists over people’s heads, you know? I’m not trying to be edgy, I’m just trying to be honest.”

Although the movie isn’t outstanding and is nowhere near a must-watch, the acting and storyline make it a strong movie. For that, I give On the Count of Three a 3.5 on the DrewMeter.

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