Watching the Unwatchable

I’m usually too much of a baby for violent and/or sexually explicit movies but somehow I made it through both Irreversible and Antichrist tonight. Back-to-back. I’m glad Kristy sat next to me through both- I had to look away a lot but she is the world’s most unflinching girl.

A husband and wife stay at their cabin in the woods to work through the death of their son. The husband is a therapist (also a pompous tool) who believes he is the best person to help his wife with her grief. By the end of the movie, they have done horrific things to one another. My boss thinks it might be a funny movie deep down and while I can’t agree, I like that he can make a ‘ball and chain’ joke about the husband’s leg being drilled through and clamped with a grinding stone. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe give excellent performances, especially Gainsbourg who throws everything into the ‘crazy’ (prior to this, I had only seen her in Jane Eyre and The Science of Sleep, I was surprised she could be so convincingly scary). The cinematography is gorgeous and I liked the bizarre images of talking foxes, hands in trees, etc. (I don’t get a lot of it but it’s striking stuff). Overall, I enjoyed this movie… though I will undoubtedly have nightmares about the pain that can be inflicted on the body- cringe!

A story told in reverse about a deeply disturbing crime against a woman and the revenge that follows. I suppose because the movie opens with revenge and works backwards, it has a more interesting perspective and somewhat lighter ending. Still, I did not care for this. The rape scene is so harrowing I couldn’t get past it (maybe this is evidence of Monica Bellucci’s fine acting…). The scene goes on for almost 10 minutes and made me feel ill. Another boss quip: ‘There are really only two acts of violence and they are foreshadowed well enough to give more sensitive members of the audience ample time to cover their eyes or vacate the premises — although admittedly in the case of the second one it gives them time to go upstairs, make a sandwich, eat it, walk the dog, and play a full Scrabble game before it’s safe to come back down again.’ Seriously.

Anyway, that was movie night with friends and co-workers. Quite an experience…

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