You might know this film, and ask why I am writing a review on a horror themed blog about a movie that isn’t horror. I’m sure anyone who has seen this film understand why it could certainly be considered horrific, and if you haven’t seen this film, I can tell you it is possibly more graphic and more brutal than whatever your favorite (insert obscure director’s name here) film might be. Maybe you walked out within the first twenty minutes, like hundreds of people at Cannes did, or maybe you loved every second of this film, or maybe you’ve never seen it, but it’s certainly had an impact on quite a few people.
“What could POSSIBLY go wrong tonight?!”
The plot of this movie isn’t the most in-depth or complicated, and you’ve probably seen it before. There are two people in a relationship, they go to a party with the girl’s ex-boyfriend, on the way home from the party the girl is raped, the guys track down the rapist, and beat him to death. Gripping, isn’t it? However, this film is French…yeah that’s right I said it. It’s French, which means they get to take a plot like this and turn it into an intense piece of film that makes you want to puke. First of all, the story takes place backwards. Backwards. Meaning, the first scene we watch is the scene with someone being beaten to death. The following scene in the movie is the scene that chronologically precedes the beating. By implementing this style, it’s the same kind of thriller as Memento, where you know little more than the characters themselves do, which make you feel like you are equally invested in what’s going on. Although both films came out the same year, I feel like they both used these devices to heighten the experience of the viewer, and I feel like they achieved their goal. They made you deal with the crime, and figure out if the background justified things AFTER the fact.
Google image search my brain for “rape tunnel”, and this is what you would see.
I mentioned the brutality of this movie, and I meant it. Specifically, two scenes, one being the rape itself, and the other being the aftermath. The victim of the rape is Monica Bellucci, who, given the opportunity, most men would gladly murder for the chance to honk her butt. The first time you see her, however, it is after a vicious beating, and you would never recognize her, so it’s that much harder a kick to the nuts when you see what she used to look like. The rape scene was filmed in one shot, over multiple takes, and lasted close to ten minutes long. You have to sit there in agonizing discomfort the whole time, without being given any sort of break while the rapist shouts about how good it feels to have the blood lubricate her b-hole. It’s rough, but makes you feel a little bit better about the opening beating.
Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci are married in real life…I’m jealous of both, secretly.
I mentioned how many people walked out in the first twenty minutes at Cannes, and that wasn’t an exaggeration, and I can see why. When the film opens, the camera is constantly zooming in and out of scenes as well in and out of focus. In addition to that, the camera is also rotating 360 degrees on it’s z-axis (Google that if you don’t understand). The filmmakers also added in an extremely low frequency hum that has been connected to causing nausea in people that have prolonged exposure to it. So you are going in and out, while spinning head over heels, listening to the equivalent of the brown noise. Not to mention that the character is running around in a dark club with only a few neon signs accenting the background, as well as the fact that it takes place in a gay club where you see various patrons taking part in sexual activities. So when the camera finally stops all this movement, the image that comes to focus is a head that has been caved in by 20-30 pulverizing hits from a fire extinguisher….of which, you see and feel the impact of. Not to mention the fact that, SPOILER ALERT, after you watch the rape, you realize that the rapist wasn’t even the one who got killed. This film might not be for everyone, and it’s certainly exhausting, but if you can stomach it, I recommend it.
Wolfman Moon Scale