At a time when Hollywood is trying hard (with different degrees of success) to represent minorities and handicapped people on the screen in a positive light, mainly as supporting characters, the Hungarian writer-director Atilla Till does precisely the opposite. He makes wheelchair- bound and otherwise handicapped people hired assassins and empowered anti-heroes. Out of three main characters only one is played with an actor with no handicap. The rest are non-professionals wih actual disabilities.
The protagonists, a 20 year-old boy, his friend, and an ex-fireman who against all odds believes that he will walk again, go to the mafia to become its killers. Formally the picture is deep in reality. But quite often in the Tarantino-esque style pushes the boundaries between reality and fiction. The story is not only about gangsters, killers and gunplay. It is a meditation on the subject of life in a wheelchair and the pain caused by a society’s neglect and total rejection. But for the film’s duration these characters are calling the shots. Literally!
When the Hungarian film Kills on Wheels won the Roger Ebert Award in the New Directors Competition at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival, the jury motivated its decision writing: “Attila Till’s genre-smashing and certainly surprising Kills on Wheels takes us through the looking glass into the world of handicapped assassins. A highly entertaining dark comedy and action-thriller the film is distinguished by the equanimity with which it treats its protagonists, who are rarely seen on the silver screen.”
The film also won a total of eight awards at three other film festivals: the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Best Feature and Best Actors (Zoltan Fenivesy,Szabolcs Thuroczy and Adam Fekete), the Arras Film Festival (Jury’s Favorite, Critics’ Award, Audience Award and Young People’s Choice) and the Film Festival Cottbus (International FIPRESCI Jury Award and Ecumenical Jury’s Prize).