The Burghart brothers’ cunning crime drama, “Head Count,” showcases a unique style.

The Burghart brothers’ cunning crime drama, “Head Count,” showcases a unique style.


This intriguing blend of comedy and drama can be challenging to follow, with multiple flashbacks and changes in tone. However, Aaron Jakubenko, known for his work on the Australian soap Neighbours and flawlessly executing a Kansas accent here, carries the film with his charm. The writing and directing team, brothers Ben and Jacob Burghart, take the audience on a rollercoaster with their story. The Burgharts had previously created a shorter version of this concept, also titled Head Count, which may explain the film’s disjointed feel. Nevertheless, as aspiring filmmakers, they have a distinct talent.

As the movie begins, the main character Kat, played by Jakubenko, is confronted by menacing individuals who have his own gun pointed at his head. Kat, who has a mathematical mind and is later caught for card counting at a casino, reflects on all the times the gun has been fired recently in order to determine if there are any bullets left. This leads to a series of flashbacks spanning several years, showing how he ended up in this dangerous situation. It all started just a few days earlier when Kat was a prisoner in the Kansas Department of Corrections, working on a chain gang. One of the prisoners further down the chain asked to use the bathroom and was subsequently attacked by a group of cougars. In the chaos, Kat managed to escape, but still had a manacle on his leg. The movie then takes a absurd, darkly comedic turn as Kat faces a series of comical events with the constant threat of violence looming.

Several additional characters appear throughout the story, such as Kat’s brother Hayes (played by Kyle Dyck) and bartender Jo (played by Melanie Zanetti), for whom Kat has developed feelings. The Burgharts, along with their editor Edward Schroer, utilize rhyming match-on-edits to create a cohesive structure. For example, scenes of an empty gun chamber are followed by shots of a wheel of poker chips, or a hand is shown in the same position in two consecutive shots. This level of careful attention to detail is consistently impressive, evident in everything from the lighting to the score.

  • The release date for Head Count on digital platforms is February 19th.