Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by David Slade (30 Days Of Night 1, Twilight 3: Eclipse). Written by Brian Nelson (30 Days Of Night 1). 99% of screentime goes to the main 2 stars: Ellen Page (Inception, Juno, Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat in the X-Men, 5 eps of Trailer Park Boys) and Patrick Wilson (The A-Team 2010, Nite Owl II in Watchmen). Also a tiny tiny bit part by Sandra Oh (Defendor, Blindness, Sidways, Grey’s Anatomy). (The Janelle chick was in a Smallville ep. Funny how bit players get around more than big players sometimes.)

Ellen Page did a great job playing a precocious 14-year-old ([highlight for spoilers] who might not really be 14). She was 17 years old during the time of filming. So you have a girl — who became a hot woman (now 23) — almost of the age of consent (or of age, depending on the jurisdiction), playing someone a pedophile is trying to hook up with. This was a good casting choice, because it helped keep things a bit more morally ambiguous. After all, in reality, sex between the 2 actors would not be illegal in many states. If they had chosen an actress who was obviously (and in reality) 12 years old, the question of “Could they really fuck in real life?” would not be a maybe, it would be a definite no. Stradding the border of legality helped keep things more interesting. Ellen Page tends to play precocious characters — like in Juno — and this was no exception.

PLOT SUMMARY: Precocious girl holds child molester hostage — and things only get worse.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Child serial killer convinces pedophile/murderer to commit suicide.


Hardly any actors! Or sets!

Major hostage movie. Almost the entire movie is about being held hostage. I’m reminded of recent movies like The Human Centipede ([highlight for spoilers] what with being drugged, held hostage, and subjected to forced surgery), as well as movies I haven’t seen in awhile, like Phone Booth and Closet Land.

Major tension in this film. Very few breaks. Total cringe moments. Interesting twists. Vigilante justice.

She’s sick–deliberately sick.

Or is she?

VISUALS: I’m glad they didn’t exercise their chance to make things more gory. In fact, this movie is not visual at all. It’s pretty much completely cerebral. Dealing with the tension. Wondering what she has in store. The visuals? Not the centerpiece of the movie.

SOUNDTRACK: Only 9 minutes of music used. In other words: Not the centerpiece of the movie.

MORALS/POLITICS: The whole movie is an interesting moral quandary. Who’s the sicker one here? The pedophile, or the girl who traps the pedophile, and does the things she does in this movie? Then there’s the fact that the whole “age of consent should be 18 (or 16)” thing was foisted upon society by the feminist movement. Prior to that, someone in their 30s having sex with a 14 year old was not considered a big deal. It still isn’t in a lot of the world. It’s probably why Catholic priests rape so much — the age of consent in The Vatican is 12. But anyway, you don’t typically see a lot of older women prosecuted for the statutory rape of underage boys. Sure, it happens. But not at the same rate. And the punishments aren’t meted out the same. There’s no actual equality. The laws are enforced against males more than females because females are perceived to be weaker. Feminism’s equality doesn’t even happen when feminism gets to rewrite laws. And that’s a big fat fail. Personally, I’d rather there be some sort of emotional maturity quotient. There’s no such thing as “the day before your birthday, you’re not capable of deciding to have sex, then the day of your birthday you are”. Humans don’t evolve overnight. There’s no actual, precise line that can be drawn. And yet, there are clearly situations that are wrong, like the one depicted in this movie. And this movie hinges on a lot of those issues. We have a 17-year-old playing a 14-year-old [highlight for spoilers] who may not even be 14 who is quite obviously emotionally mature enough to handle many adult situations — like all the [highlight for spoilers] crazy, fucked up shit she puts the guy through. Oh, he deserved it. But not for what he did to her. He deserved it for what he did to the girls before her.

There are, of course, a bunch of guys who complain that this movie is “anti-male”. Sigh. I suppose Harry Potter is anti-male too, because Voldemort is a guy. People, please! A bad character in a movie is not a statement that all people in his demographic are also bad!

GOOD STUFF: This movie essentially has 2 bad guys, and no good guys. (Or does it?) That is a very interesting set up.

BAD STUFF: People don’t like intense movies. People don’t like hostage situations. People don’t like movies that aren’t uplifting. This movie is very much about darkness, the dark things that people do, and the darkness in peoples’ hearts.

And no, 14-year-olds don’t talk like that. But neither do the people in Juno talk like that. Movies often contain interesting dialog that is more interesting than how people talk in real life. That’s a good thing. If I wanted real life, I’d have one.

CONCLUSION: A great hostage movie made even better by the moral ambiguity of just who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Or are there no good guys? Or are there no bad guys? Ellen Page is better in this than in Juno. With hints of The Human Centipede, Phone Booth, Closet Land, this was a great exploration of pedophile victims’ revenge. If only the male character could have been the Pope.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.2/10, Netflix: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.0/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth checking out!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Already mentioned above.


Jeff Kohlver: Who the hell are you?
Hayley Stark: I am every little girl you ever watched, touched, hurt, screwed, killed.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A few people (Suds Pshaw, Rachel Weird) said this was definitely a “wow” movie to watch… And I agree.