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Maniac suggests that it could be a clever and intense thriller from the perspective of a serial killer, observing the world from inside his twisted mind. It is not a clever and intense thriller, however, it is… what’s the right word… dumb and clumsy. That starts with the realisation that the first person perspective from Elijah Wood’s character is a bad idea (I am sure it sounded like a good idea at the time of the first script meeting), continues with the very (very!) bad idea to have his voice as an off-voice (a consequence of the first choice, because he’s usually off-camera), which leads to him either talking more than necessary to have something to do, or talking in a voice that is mixed to sound subjective, i.e. much closer to us than the other characters’. Again, it certainly sounded like a compelling idea to somebody at some point.

The film is ridden with stunning depictions of violent abuse and murder, and I felt strangely uncomfortable with that, as the whole feel of the movie is not one that would warrant this kind of depiction. It looks off, gratuitous, maybe even gratuitously purposeful in that it felt to me that Elijah Wood wanted a serious deviation from the furry-footed character for which he is iconic. Seems he chose the role to get as far away from that as possible, accepting any absurdity the script was throwing at him. Not sure whether he did himself a favour…

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