Futuristic luggage. Limited edition golden phones. Stab-ready pens caked in human excrement. Consensual strangulation. Blissful psychedelic Thai music. Elijah Wood. Martin Donovan. What could these disparate elements all have in common, you ask? Press play on Come to Daddy (2019) on your favorite streaming service to find out.
Donovan—and even Wood on occasion (see Maniac (2012))—tends to be part of unclassifiable films, or at least I associate Donovan with them, like early Hal Hartley works; while he’s not typecast exactly, but his meandering loopy air of delivery and doughy face always somehow elicits a tone both satirical and earnest.
In the opening scene, Elijah Wood wanders through the woods until reaching a deserted beach. A gust of wind whips away his wide brimmed catwalk hat, revealing a stylish semi-bowl haircut; his full lips beneath a prominent mustache do not wrinkle in consternation. Does he have another packed in his chic meatpacker silver suitcase?
He approaches an isolated beach house, a single strand of Christmas lights woven through the bannisters of its covered porch. Shortly thereafter he meets Daddy, a wizened, surly old drunk with a face like a shriveled apple. Wood likes the house, he reassures Daddy, because “it’s like a UFO from the 1960’s.”
After scorching some meat, Daddy pours the tallest glass of wine ever. Later, a police officer arrives talking of “raisin eyes,” and perhaps Daddy’s face is, at the end of the of day, more raisin than apple, although one does not suspect this is to what the officer refers. Nor do we ever learn the true mystery of the sparkling square Wood notices on a distant scrub bush while peeing. Later, Wood drinks at sunset on the beach to amazing Thai psychedelic music, Daddy comfortably tucked in his body bag, Wood already eager to drunkenly proposition, via rotary phone, the coroner who’d visited the beach house earlier after Daddy’s sudden demise.
But, as it turns out, Daddy isn’t Daddy in a truly galvanizing moment. “Have you ever been tortured to death by a hunchback?” the real Daddy (Donovan) asks shortly thereafter in a dungeon. This is the scene where the film truly finds its wings, but I’ll let you soar through the rest of it by your enchanted lonesome.
Today is April 25, 2020, and this film is currently streaming as VOD release on various streaming services.