Louise Linton has crafted a high camp fantasy with her directorial debut Me You Madness. The feature which straddles the line between the comedy and thriller genres pays homage to eighties popular culture through the film’s satirical, savvy narrative that excels in its fourth-wall breaking bravado.
Ruthless business executive Catherine Black (Linton) harbours a deadly secret – she’s a serial killer. When petty thief Tyler (Ed Westwick) responds to Catherine’s roommate ad, he thinks he has scored. Yet the two embark on a dangerous game of flirtation, mind games, and bloodlust that becomes further complicated by potentially authentic feelings developing between the pair.
Like the decade which inspires Me, You, Madness there is nothing subtle about the project. Catherine’s life is one of complete excess – from her decadent Malibu mansion to her haute couture outfits – something further channelled in her the bold and assertive manner. Linton packs her screenplay with a gratuitous self-awareness through numerous exuberant fourth-wall breaking montages capturing Catherine’s high flying lifestyle, paired with sequences of bloodlust and violence; impressively producing a satirical comedy centred on capitalistic excess. The decadence of Catherine’s lifestyle is paralleled through her excessive violent tendencies producing a sharp, savvy satire on greed told through the eyes of a central character who proudly declares “I’m a self-serving, materialistic, narcissistic, homicidal sociopath.”
Catherine Black is Alexis Colby with a taste for blood, striking terror into her employees and navigating a lifestyle of glamour and wealth. Opening with a scene of the executive delicately playing with a spider before eating the creature, our protagonist’s violent, blood-thirsty and spine-chilling tendencies are unveiled – yet in a manner which is so outlandish it sets the high camp tone that follows. Linton has crafted a protagonist that pays homage to classic femme fatales of eighties and nineties cinema from Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell to Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest. She’s audacious, hyper-intelligent and painfully narcistic, noting “I have an IQ of one-seventy-three” and “I can do 1000 butt crunches!” Yet she’s endearing, amusing and provocative enough to ensure we are gripped throughout.
Linton’s narrative descends into a beautifully chaotic romp as Tyler and Catherine begin to veer into extreme mind games, heated moments of passion, and moments of violence (Catherine taking down a leering perv after an exercise serves as a turning point). Westwick and Linton capture the delicate balance between the camp of the more outlandish narrative elements with the romance which underpins the film. Both performers bring a sense of charisma and conviction that ensures they fully sell the satirical tone of Me You Madness, whilst also guaranteeing there is a spark between the characters that ensures we are invested in the ride. Linton delivers each line with a steely magnetism and authority, packing the role of Catherine with enough deadly magnetism and glamour to help the feature shine as a contemporary camp classic. Westwick brings the rugged charm of a handsome conman to the fold, whilst letting glimmers of his lovestruck gently trickle through. Both performers nail the tone of the film, with Westwick even selling the line “Whoever wrote this is a fucking genius,” to his co-star and the film’s writer Linton.
Me You Madness showcases its glamorous vision through stunningly picturesque cinematography from Reinhart ‘Rayteam’ Peschke and Boa Simon who capture Catherine’s Malibu home with a sun-lit, airy beauty and shoot the expensive and decadent interiors of the coastal mansion to their utmost elegance. Neon-drenched aesthetics – particularly in the film’s more violent moments – give Me You Madness a further stylistic edge. Linton’s quick-fire direction and savvy style ensures that as well as looking lavish, Me You Madness feels fast-paced, energetic and consistently gripping.
An intoxicating eighties soundtrack featuring The Pointer Sister’s Jump and I’m So Excited, Taylor Dayne’s Tell It To My Heart, Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, and Maniac (the underrated Måns Zelmerlöw cover too), ensures Linton’s film is brimming with magnetic appeal and prioritises a sense of camp fun.
Me You Madness is a triumph. Outlandish, provocative, and witty, Linton has crafted a contemporary camp treat. The two leads deliver no-holds-barred turns in this hyper-stylised gem that amusingly casts a satirical eye over the world of wealth and excess.
Me You Madness is available from April 19th on iTunes, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Sky Store, Sony, and TalkTalk.