Fittingly, a film about voyeurism contains cinema’s first cameltoe.
Controversial British movie about a man who murders women and films their final moments. It bears some superficial similarities to the 1979 film Bloodline, but is far more successful. Though billed as a horror movie, it isn’t scary as such; it’s more creepy and psychologically disturbing. Its real strength lies in its ideas, its willingness to wallow in depravity (reminding me of David Fincher’s Se7en in that regard), and the utterly unpleasant lead performance from Carl Boehm. Some aspects are a touch simplistic (e.g. the Freudian stuff), but it all hangs together fairly well.
It’s easy to see why it would have caused such an uproar when first released, not only for its plot and subject matter, but for the matter-of-fact way in which the seediest parts of British society are depicted. The interpretation advanced by some critics that the whole film is a comment on horror filmmaking, and the voyeuristic position of the audiences of such films, is viable and intriguing. Recommended.
Oh, deer. According to the credits, “American Humane Association monitored some of the animal action. No animals were harmed in those scenes”. Presumably this wasn’t one of the monitored scenes…
At its heart, this grim drama is basically just a police procedural. Like many of its kin it features red herrings, convenient coincidences, surprising twists, and no proper exploration of the motives of the criminal(s) responsible for the central crime(s). However, it’s able to rise above these genre tropes thanks to strong performances from an excellent cast (Hugh Jackman is especially good; I’ve generally thought poorly of him but this very much redeems him in my eyes), assured direction from Canadian Denis Villeneuve, and some effective emotional moments. The relentlessness of the movie’s bleakness brings to mind David Fincher’s Se7en, and that’s no bad thing. After the revelations in the last half hour, I’m not convinced it all actually makes sense. In fact, it really is that final stretch – with twists and resolutions that don’t really match the power of what precedes them – that lowers this from a potential 8.5 or 9 down to a solid 7.5. Interesting piece of trivia: cinematographer Roger Deakins was nominated for an Oscar and lost (to Emmanuel Lubezki, whose work on Gravity was admittedly outstanding), making it 11 losses from 11 nominations.