This film has characters that have not very many redeeming qualities.
This film presents you with a large number of morality questions, with no real answers.
This film ends ambiguously, but it ends amazingly strong.
This is an amazing film, but I feel strange saying that based on the subject matter.
This is one of the best films I've seen in a while, end of story.
This film has been written about and puzzled over in many online blogs and publications. It's been in my queue for quite some time and I've been putting it off, as I was waiting for the right moment to settle in to watch it. Last night was that night. The reason it keeps coming up, is that it's such a unique storyline with characters that seem to have no likable characteristics.... however, they're very watchable characters. These are characters that you have to find a common ground with in order to watch the film. I spent the entire, almost 2 hour run time, puzzling over how everyone ended up in the situation they were in and if they were justified in their actions. To be honest, I'm still asking myself the same questions. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this film since it ended. I can't say it's a recommended watch, perhaps only to those with a strong stomach and an open mind. This is a film that doesn't come along everyday, it can't be.... not based on the storyline. It's so dark and so harsh.
Enough of my babble, on with the storyline....
Plot taken from Wiki: "Erica (Amanda Fuller) spends her nights trawling the bars and beds of Austin. Emotionally withdrawn, her only form of human contact is a series of one-night stands, until she meets the mysterious Nate (Noah Taylor), who claims to have been honorably discharged from Iraq. Despite his air of danger, Nate’s the only man who seems to want for more than sex, and the two form a hesitant bond. But one of Erica’s casual sexual encounters, Franki (Marc Senter) — a young, hot-headed wannabe rock star — is about to return dramatically into her life." And when he does, things go straight to hell for all three people and everyone in their radius. That pretty much sums it up, although there is so much more to it than just what's writte here. It's such a hard film to sum up in a paragraph.For all of the horrible things that happen during the course of this film, there is still an underlying love story (in a way) and true caring and concern for someone else. It's what makes this all that much more of a difficult film to dissect. Case in point, the violence is focused on in the reviews you read.... but in reality, a lot of is it implied. Granted, there is some horrific stuff presented on the screen, but only snippets of it is visual and the rest is left up to your own imagination. That creates a visual far worse than anything Simon Rumley could have created. There is also some confusion on the backstories in the film and the ending. What I have to say to that is that if you're paying attention and going along with what the characters believe and say, then you'll understand everything that happens. However, if you're left feeling unsatisified at the end.... there are plenty of sites attempting to crack the final scenes. I think it was done in such a way that it doesn't treat the audience like idiots. It allows some interpretations, but is pretty concrete.... however subtle it may be.
All in all, I am very close to a 5 star rating, but after my inital viewing, I am going with a very strong 4 out of 5 star rating. This film has a unique voice that screams out to have all of the directors other films added to the queue and watched as soon as possible. I am so happy that I finally took the leap of faith to watch this and that I waited to be in the right mood. This is not your Saturday afternoon pleasure viewing film, this is for the thinking person with an open mind and a bit of a sadistic side. If you have the time and the desire, this is a film that deserves a wide audience and all of the people involved in this put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it and it shows. Amazing.
There is a great scene early on in the film where Nate is talking to Erica and telling her a story about when he was a kid. He talks about how he used to do horrible things to animals, but when he was given a kitten to take care of, he treated it like his own child and would never hurt it and would protect it to the death. However, it didn't stop him from hurting other animals. This is just an example of the beautiful way that things are forshadowed in the film and you almost have to take everything said and done in the film as more than what it appears. Everything has a meaning a purpose. That's why I love this flim.
If you like this, check out: 'Death Sentence', 'The Brave One' and 'Death Wish'