Posted by Danny at 12:42 AMLabels: Bride of Project Horror, Look What Danny Watched
Until tonight, Martyrs was probably the most extreme movie I've ever seen. Its extremity at least led up to an ending that was remarkable. As of tonight there's a new titleholder for both the most extreme and most transgressive movie I've seen, and it did not have an ending that I hope to think of ever again as soon as I finish this review.
I'm actually really hesitant even to summarize this movie. It's that harsh. Here goes... Milos is a semi-retired porn star with a beautiful wife and young son. His infamy as a performer comes from his reputation for being, um, ready to perform in any circumstance. He takes occasional roles to make money for the family, but their situation is not secure. When he is approached to star in a film with a director he's never heard of before, he's offered enough money to take care of his family for the rest of their lives, but he won't be told about the scenes he'll be shooting ahead of time.
And really, you may read that and think you're prepared for what comes next, but believe me when I say that you really, really are not. That's as far as I'm going to go, other than to say that Milos is eventually forced to do unbelievably horrific things, and in ways that will make your jaw drop and stomach clench.
The director has said in interviews that his film is a political statement. A statement about what exactly has changed from interview to interview: sometimes he says that it's a comment on Serbia's culture of political correctness, sometimes he says that it's about the consequences of postwar society, other times it's about how workers are exploited in order to provide for their families. Honestly, I think that any of those interpretations is a bit of a stretch, but I could at least believe that he was trying to make a statement if he could choose one interpretation and stick with it. The fact that he's got so many different takes on it makes me think that he either has a really inflated opinion of his own work's importance, or else he's just really full of shit and is trying to make the rest of us assign his work a greater importance.
I know that there are people who will see this review and take it as a challenge, to see if they can handle this movie. Please let me urge you not to read this as a challenge. Maybe, like me, you are a big fan of horror, and want to find a new experience. Please see something else. Seeing A Serbian Film will not make you any more satisfied.
I've said this before about just a few other movies, but I just have no idea how to rate this movie. Watching it was not a good experience. My body literally was ill when it ended. The ending was simply awful, but there was one redemptive thing about it: Milos, for all the awful things that he's coerced into during this film, starts his journey out of a desire to do for his family, and the final decision he makes is also, in its own way, his way of trying to do what's right for his family. For that, and that only, I'm going to give this one a few points.
I give A Serbian Film three Serbian flags out of five.