Ex Drummer (4 stars)

This article is from 2007.

(Koen Mortier, Belgium, 2007) 104min

Based on the degenerate novel of the same name by the hugely popular Flemish novelist and poet Herman Brusselmans, Ex Drummer is like a checklist of the Belgian writer’s obsessions, noticeably alcohol, sex, disability, boredom, violence, punk rock and the most squalid and sordid of violence imaginable.

When novelist Dries (Dries Van Hegen) is approached by three disabled musicians and asked to be the drummer in their band he is intrigued and agrees. Each of the band members have their own foibles and psychosis and slowly Dries begins to enjoy being in this world as the band prepare for their one-off gig to end all gigs.

It’s a bonkers, nihilistic, culty premise befitting the film’s source, but to pull such wilful and needlessly avaricious and venal material off takes a director of singular vision. Embarking on his first feature as screenwriter/adaptor/
director Koen Mortier is more than up to the task as Ex Drummer is inventive, funny, nightmarish and brilliantly realised. Owing a certain debt to pioneering work in a similar field by fellow countrymen and brothers Rémy (Man Bites Dog) and Lucas (Trilogy: One, Two, Three) Belvaux, Ex Drummer is, however, not for everyone and really should be avoided by anyone of a squeamish disposition. (Paul Dale)

Cineworld, 623 8030, 23 Aug, 10pm & 24 Aug, 9.50pm, both £7.95 (£5.50).

Ex Drummer

  • 4 stars
  • 2007
  • Belgium
  • 1h 44min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Koen Mortier
  • Written by: Herman Brusselmans, Koen Mortier
  • Cast: Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert

When famous author Dries is asked to play the drums for a group of oddball hard rock musicians, he is drawn to their squalid life. But once in, can he get out again? Sick fun and anarchic comedy drama set in Ostend in Flemish Belgium.


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