In a small town in the US, twenty people enter a ‘Hands On’ competition to try and win a brand-new pick-up truck. Each participant has to keep one hand on the truck at all times to be in with a chance of winning, with competition organiser Joan (Carrie Preston) keeping an eye on the proceedings. One man, Kyle (Joe Cole), is determined to do whatever it takes to win but as the days pass and the psychological torment of the competition kicks in, he and the other competitors struggle to keep a grip on reality.
Bastian Günther’s ‘One of These Days’ shines a light on the very real, and very baffling, ‘Hands On’ competition trend that drives people to do crazy things. Giving us a wide variety of contestants to acquaint ourselves with, Günther forces us to see things from Kyle’s perspective making you feel like you have to root for him from the outset. While we get to learn various things about the contestants over the duration of the film, Kyle’s backstory is kept a mystery until the final act and that’ll prove either frustrating or intriguing for viewers.
None of the other contestants get the focus that Kyle does but the audience is required to switch between Kyle’s struggle to win and Joan’s attempts to keep the competition on track. This split focus makes the film feel a little bit uneven because the audience gets used to spending time with one character for the film to flip them to the other with little warning. We get an adequate glimpse into Joan’s life – she’s having an affair with a man who is dating someone else – but the constant flipping from Joan to Kyle makes the film feel unfocussed.
One of the strongest aspects of the film is the way it slowly unravels the competitive nature between the contestants, one of whom isn’t being quite as honest and upfront as you think they are. It’s fun to watch the competitors sniping at one another as they keep their eye on the prize and couldn’t care less about the toll it’s taking on anyone else. That aspect of the story is highly believable and it’s those scenes that are the best.
The performances of the entire cast are strong but it’s Joe Cole and Carrie Preston that really stand out. Cole has the harder job given his character doesn’t reveal much so he doesn’t have a lot to work with. That being said, Cole is charismatic enough to reel you in and keep you with him as Kyle tries his best to win the truck. Preston gets more to play with and after winning audiences over with her turns in ‘True Blood’ and ‘Claws’, she brings that Southern charm she’s known for. Joan is easily the best character in the film and it’s Preston’s gutsy performance that will likely win you over.
‘One of These Days’ has an interesting premise but it may not translate all that well to a UK audience. The film is solid enough but the narrative doesn’t quite hang together in a satisfying or cohesive way. More focus when it comes to the characters would have been a huge benefit and giving the audience someone they can really get behind and understand, would have made the film more engaging. Thankfully the performances of Cole and Preston are reason enough to keep watching but the end of the film may leave you underwhelmed.
Cast: Joe Cole, Carrie Preston, Callie Hernandez, Jesse C. Boyd Director: Bastian Günther Writer: Bastian Günther Certificate: 15 Duration: 119 mins Released by: Studio Soho Release date: 1st April 2022