*** SPOILERS ***
This weeks movie is going to be very, very hard for me to review. Mostly because certain aspects were so confusing. That aside, I did think it was an incredibly well made movie and it does warrant at least another watch.
We see a known actor for a change, in a young Sam Neill (Mark) returning from work to his beautiful wife Anna in Berlin. The movie is shot right beside the Berlin wall which I don't think is accidental in any sense given the division throughout the movie between the husband and wife. It almost feels like the director is trying to show the unseen by giving the incredible emotion of this movie a solid presence. The hard, cold concrete and stark scenes set in Berlin convey their relationship wonderfully.
That is fundamentally what the movie seemed to be... the portrayal of a relationship downward spiraling faster than is can recover from and the breakdown of the characters. It is a very uncomfortable movie and has scenes which are very difficult to watch between Mark and Anna, including a horrendously nasty physically abusive scene between the 2 of them. Also as a parent, I found the presence of their son and his neglect by Anna after Mark has left their home very uncomfortable. The characters seem to be emotionally unhinged and self involved to the extreme, concentrating on how everything effects them with Anna even having no concern for her own son.
In our storyline Mark discovers his wife has been unfaithful after she asks for a divorce. As the movie continues, it becomes clear he has too, but that seems unimportant and the concentration seems to be very much upon Anna's infidelity. In fact, the movie seems to concentrate very much on Marks feelings and portraying things from Marks point of view. Any scenes which are meant to be from Anna's perspective seem incomplete confusing or contradictory. Her personality was very hard to make sense of. I wasn't sure if this was a deliberate thing to add to the mania and to hint towards the complexity of women who can be almost impossible to understand or whether it was an oversight on behalf of the director.
Mark hires a private detective to follow Anna. This is where the confusion started for me in earnest. There is a man/octopus thing (very convincingly put together btw) that Anna is sleeping with. It develops more and more throughout the film by eating body parts it seems, fed to it by Anna. One very odd and lingering scene shows Anna making love to the 'thing' and repeating the word 'almost'... The detective and his partner are murdered by Anna when they find out too much and she feeds them to the man/octopus? While this is happening Mark starts to date his son Bobs teacher, a 'good' version of Anna , called Helen (played by the same actress) who has her 'kindness' visibly displayed by brilliant green eyes.
A scene which deserves a mention in the movie is Anna's mental and physical breakdown in the Subway. It is quite lengthy, VERY uncomfortable (I think because its so raw and human) and very well executed and culminates in her sitting on the concrete with blood running from her head and what looked like a mixture of blood, pus and urine coming from between her legs. Again, I didn't quite understand this part but visually it was very dramatic and effective. She makes a comment about the episode being her 'loss of faith'.
The ending of the movie is very confusing but mind blowing. I won't completely spoil it, but the man/octopus reaches its final evolution into a doppelganger of Mark. Helen is left in the appartment with Bob and the Doppelganger. The same 3 physical beings are we started with fundementally.
This movie will probably leave you with more questions than answers and feeling a little confused, but if you watch it, you would have to admit that its a very powerful, dark,ominous and disturbing movie with phenomenal acting from the leads, moreso Isabelle Adjani. You certainly won't have seen anything like it before.
Thumbs up from me.
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