Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Book of Revelation

Somebody Save Me!

You'd be forgiven if you thought that this movie was nothing more than the final chapter of the biblical text. Although itself based on a novel, this is a far cry from doomsday, though for the lead character, his life has been made a living hell for the sheer psychological and physical torture he goes through even after his unfortunate ordeal. And it does provoke some thought into the issues it put on screen, though it doesn't provide any answers, which I suppose in a real world equivalent, it's likely to remain under wraps too, for the shame.

There are many movies out there which deal with and center around the topic of rape. But this would probably mark the first time I've watched a movie where the male lead gets set upon by a gang of three masked females, who for the protection of their identity, prefer to keep their kinky sexual exploits from perhaps each other as well. In fact, their dressing is so well designed, that they have openings for their eyes, and a flap to expose their mouths for the purpose of providing pleasure. And being clothed for the most parts, it prevents the victim from trying to identify any tell-tale signs like tattoos, birthmarks or moles.

Tom Long (no offence, but what a name, really) plays Daniel, a renowned dance practitioner under the tutelage of Isabel (Greta Scacchi). To Isable, Daniel is her star, and she fiercely guards her protege, up until he decided to go around a corner and buy a packet of cigarettes for his fiance, that he gets kidnapped, and the production has to rely on a stand-in. Daniel of course returns, but returns as a changed man. Meek, irritable, and with a feeling that he's lost his skills. He becomes obssessed, and we slowly learn why - he's become a victim of a gang rape by an all female trio, who in their own words, just want to see him perform a dance for them privately, failing which the punishment is... rape.

To justify its R21 rating, we're given a full blown account for Daniel's inexplicable disappearance from the normal world he's used to, and now find himself chained to a dark basement like an animal, responding to the whims and fancies of his captors as they take turns to deal with him up his rear. And to a hunky, muscular guy, I suppose this would be a breaking down of resistance, as the power play between the captors and the captive turn psychological, and at times blurring the lines whether Daniel is actually enjoying his current situation.

Wait a minute, who in the right mind would enjoy being in such a situation? Here's where the crux of some of the issues are. Can a man be raped (obviously if against his wishes, yes), and what's with the stigma of having such a stain? Is it hard to imagine the kind of reaction for a guy to make a report and say "Excuse me Mr officer, but I've been raped for days repeatedly by three women wearing masks"? While we can easily understand and sympathize with female victims, could we say and feel the same for a male one, especially one who potentially has the propensity to fight back? Hard to fathom of course, which speaks volumes when the screening I'm in had its fair share of walkouts from amongst the full house audience.

But in a tale of two halves, the other showcases Daniel's struggle to try and rebuild a normal life, but again, with such a traumatizing event that he experienced, it does turn some screws loose, as he begins to suspect and mistrust, just like female victims would, all women whom he encounters and who in his estimates, fit the bill of his kidnappers, for reasons none other than vengeance. I thought the second half was more engaging than its earlier portion as it boiled down to an individual struggle, and with an ending that spoke volumes for the things left unsaid. Not an easy movie to sit through given its pace and storyline, but you do get plenty of discussion topics when you emerge from the theatre.

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