That’s a good title; however much of a legend the titular Danny might be, one senses that the inclusion of the word “god’ suggests some kind of megalomania is at work here. Writer/director Yavor Petkov has indicated that one of his jumping–off points for this darkly satirical film was the Belgian classic Man Bites Dog, in which a documentary camera-crew get unwittingly drawn into the world of a serial killer. That’s a high bar to jump, but Danny. Legend. God. manages to pull it off by not being slavish to the original, but creating a fresh and edgy new take on the notion of our complicity with what we see.
So this Danny is a very different character, but one that’s very much now. Played by Dimo Alexiev, he’s a Bulgarian councillor who has represented three different political parties; in truth, he’s not really a political figure, but a criminal one, hiding in plain sight in a ridiculously opulent house. A camera crew arrive to document his lifestyle, but soon find themselves out of their depth as Danny reveals the corrupt methods by which he does business. Money-laundering, the great unspoken vice of today, is Danny’s game, and he feels no shame in threatening those who get in his way. A trophy wife, a string of mistresses and potential conquests await, but Danny’s predilection for hard-drugs and harder sex proves to be his undoing….
Almost like a Grand Designs reality show, but with Tony Montana at the centre of it, Danny. Legend. God. makes some smart calls; the presentation, although supposedly by a documentary crew, is good-looking and wide-screen. Found footage films are often hellish to look at, and Petkov plays cleverly by capturing the reality behind the shoot. My experience of life is that the supposed higher echelons of society have more criminals/Dannys that the lower ones, and the details of Danny’s life are alarmingly persuasive; this is less Borat-style comic caricature, but a study of the kind of incompetent villainy of a Trump-family member or lawyer, working scams that quickly fall apart during unsuccessful implementation.
Danny. Legend. God. has just been released in the UK, and is slated for a US release, perfectly timed to catch a wave of interest in criminality and justice, one hopes; white male criminality is very much 2021’s flavour so far. There’s a terrific support performance from Valentina Aleksandrova as an object of Danny’s unwanted desire, and also persusive work from James Ryan Babson as a boom operator who gets too close to Danny’s operation. And there’s a striking scene with Susanitta as Danny’s influencer daughter which lays bare the social media idiocy and vapidity with ferocious elan. But best of all, Dimo Alexiev is a knockout turn as Danny, a villain for the ages and a memorably aggressive, rebarbative character. Petkov tones down any notions of physical violence in favour of scabrous satire, making Danny. Legend. God. something of a treat for those who want their films tough, edgy and reflective of the dark and dangerous now.
Now available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and Sky Store in the UK and Ireland.
Coming to digital platforms in North America on 20 July.