I’m a sucker for descent into madness films so naturally I really wanted to enjoy this film. There is just something so enjoyable about watching a person deconstruct right before your eyes. Casey Affleck is incredibly disturbing and truly frightening in his role. Unfortunately, the film’s final act is so poorly written that all the good the film built up (a considerable amount) is washed away making this film memorable for only one reason. That reason is severe and realistic abuse against women (Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson).
Lou Ford (Affleck) is a quite unassuming deputy in Texas during the 1950’s – with a twist. Affleck, essentially reprises his role from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Or more accurately he could be playing a future relative of his famous role. Affleck’s performance is one of his best and undoubtedly deserves attention come awards time. He is an empty shell, loving and killing those around him without ever understanding why. His character is ranks up there with some of the best, think American Pyscho crazy.
The scene that everyone talks about comes out of nowhere and quite literally punched me in the gut. It is one of the most disturbing things I have seen, not because of the violence, but because of the unflinching manner in which it is shown. Director Michael Winterbottom did not shy away from showing brutal, realistic violence – mostly against women. It’s absolutely the kind of thing that many people will cringe at, walk out, or flat out not want to see. This film is not horror, but I imagine the audiences that will want to seek out this film will be into horror. If for no other reason than the shock value the film holds. Horror buffs love that kinda shit. Am I right? I am looking at all of you who watched A Serbian Film.
As the film progresses, bad things start to happen. And not in the way of the movie gets more intense. Through the first two acts the film was on target to be one of my favorites of 2010. Then random characters come out of nowhere, the plot gets muddled, and the special effects hurt my face with their sucking. How hard is it to hire someone who can create realistic element effects? This really threw me out of the moment.
The film is brilliantly acted by everyone involved, with not a weak link in the bunch. The direction is well done, but prepare yourself for tons of flashbacks and even an impossible flash forward near the end of the film. The flashbacks attempt to tell the back story of Affleck’s character and give depth, but often come off as repetitive and unnecessary. Of course, most of the flashbacks involve either: Alba’s, Kate Hudsons’ or another actress’ naked butt being smacked. S&M fans will rejoice.
Watch it for yourself. I can’t decide one way or another if this is film that should be watched or avoided. It’s riding a fine line of being a weed in my field or a flower in my yard.
Snore Factor: ZZZ