Friday, January 22, 2010

Sundance, day 2

I started watching movies today.

First up was
The Violent Kind. Directed by The Butcher Brothers, this is a crazy horror movie. It starts out with a biker gang going to a party at a house in the woods. Between the isolated house in the middle of nowhere and the possessed chick speaking with a demonic voice, it reminded me of Evil Dead. Then the movie gets weird. There are these crazy greasers straight out of the 1950s that start stalking the biker gang. They seem to have supernatural powers.

The movie reminded me of something Stephen King might have written back when he was on cocaine. A story starts out one way, some violence and killing starts happening, then some crazy supernatural stuff comes out of left field. The movie was interesting, but disappointing. The dialogue was ok at times and horrible other times. Lines like "You have a lot of heart" and "You can do anything you want. I know you can!" Cringe-inducing dialogue. The performances are ok, but most of the movie is kind of boring. It only gets entertaining when the strange 1950s greasers show up. They should have come into the story much earlier.

The next movie I saw was Enemies of the People. Its a documentary about the Khmer Rouge and the killing fields of Cambodia (1975 - 1979). Thet Sambath's family was killed by the Khmer Rouge, and he spent 10 years of his life befriending the people who committed the killing. He gets people to talk about the victims they killed, and he even talks to Brother Number Two, Pol Pot's right hand man.

It was chilling to watch these people talk about what they did. Some of them feel very bad about it, but some are just afraid they will go to prison. I thought the subject matter was fascinating, especially considering how much Sambath sacrificed to get the testimony of these guys. But I was hoping to learn more about the Khmer Rouge than I did. I wish he had asked Brother Number Two about Security Prison 21, for example.

The last movie was a great French horror movie called 7 Days. Dr. Bruno Hamel's daughter is kidnapped, raped, and murdered at the beginning of the movie. The killer is arrested, and before he can stand trial, Bruno manages to kidnap the killer and take him to an isolated cottage by a lake (the old cabin in the woods, again). He ties the killer up and tortures him for 7 days.

This sounds like the setup for Law-Abiding Citizen, but it is a very different kind of movie. For one thing, it's much more graphic. We see most of the things Bruno does to his daughter's killer. The movie also explores the idea of revenge. He wants to make his daughter's killer suffer as much as he possibly can, and we see the toll this has on the guy. There is a scene where a police officer asks why they are trying to find the killer. He says Bruno is justified in what he is doing, and why should they be trying to rescue a child murderer. His superior officer says that its not the killer he is trying to save, but Bruno.

As I said, the movie is very graphic. Every time he tried a new torture on his victim, I watched a handful of critics get up and leave. There were even some critics who made it over an hour into the movie, then something would happen that they just couldn't handle and they would head for the exits.

Oh, and here is a picture I took of a giant ice sculpture made to look like a big bottle of Absolute Vodka.

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