So this was a biggie for me, a movie I've heard a lot about and one I never really found the right time or mood to watch. As I watch most movies with my husband and he was never keen that I watch this movie, it was kind of hard to get around to it. Then came the 'Video Nasty' challenge and a reason to watch it.
I didn't quite know how I would feel about it as I know the subject matter was surrounding brutal rapes, something any regular reader will know, I feel quite strongly about. As this was such a notorious and widely discussed movie, I was keen that it be an accurate representation of the brutality of this act.
So - The premis. Pretty straightforward. A woman (Jennifer) leaves New York to stay in a house by a lake in a beautiful countryside setting to write her book. The start of the movie is a bit irritating and you can see what happens coming a mile off (maybe not to the degree it happens, but the fact you see it coming is disturbing in itself). We get to know Jennifer and there is no concentration on any other character, apart from a retarded young man called Matthew.
After some set up, the movie is quite quick to get down to a series of brutal rapes of Jennifer. I found these scenes very uncomfortable to watch and very upsetting. I won't go into minute detail as to what took place, but it was far from pleasant. The camera doesn't cut away as it tends to in scenes such as this. Its stays on the victim and perpetrators throughout the entire act adding to the uncomfortable nature of watching these scenes real time.
Although I have said these scenes are upsetting and I found them difficult to watch, I feel that the director here did an excellent job of conveying the brutality of rape. He concentrated on the violence usually involved, the complete and utter lack of respect for the victim as a human being and most importantly, how the experience is affecting the victim. There were no gratuitous shots, even though Jennifer spends a vast portion of the movie completely or partially nude. There is never an air of arousal or tease, there are no genital or breast close-ups, there really is no need. The rapes are shown for what they are with no need to spell anything out to us.
What is just as disturbing as the brutal rapes and violence in this movie, is the mysoginistic attitudes of the men in the movie. On a one to one basis, they seem like pretty normal guys, but when brought together they turn into complete and utter vile, aggressive animals. This is something I've always had problems with as it has been proven in history over and over again (ie war) that this does happen. What can make an ordinary man turn into someone capable of such repulsive acts. To me, that was the most disturbing aspect of the movie. One character is even heard to say that any man when given the chance will rape a woman. That is obviously completely untrue, but a frightening thought that some men may even think that way.
Anyways pondering aside and back to the movie.
Young Matthew is sent (after they've used her for their own needs) by the other lads to dispatch Jennifer by way of a rather pathetic looking knife. Unfortunately he is unable to do so and just cuts the side of her face to collect some blood to make it all realistic like... Hmmmmmmm.
We return to the story with Jennifer physically recovered and ready to exact her revenge.
This is where I hypocritically cheer for violence of a massive degree. Jennifer does indeed track down all the perpetrators (starting with retarded Matthew) and dispatches with them one by one. Now I won't go into detail as to how as some people may want to actually watch the movie, but I was satisfied with the first 2... just desserts I thought. Very satisfying. However the last 2 guys (including the most aggressive, nasty of the 4some) get away far to lightly for my liking. Not enough thought is put into their murders. I would have liked something a bit more thought provoking, nasty and deserving.
In conclusion, I don't know if 'enjoy' is the right word for this, but this movie did tick most of the right boxes for me and left me feeling mostly satisfied (all but for those last 2 deaths) and impressed by the directors genuine accomplishment at making a move that portrays this nasty subject just as it should be.
Heartilly recommend it for anyone who can stomach it.
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