Man Bites Dog: A likable sort of sociopath . . . . .

Good day all,

First of all happy holidays to all of you freedom loving browsers; I knew the holidays were here when the lady mixed some extra potato peel into my daily gruel (she says if I’m good I can have the organ meat from the turkey). Christmas always means that the lady brings her family on through to have a turn at humiliating and abusing the ol’ hostage, but the dad-in-law (film teacher) came through with a gem this year. The best way I can put my response to this little ditty is that it is the film that Cannibal Holocaust should have been. Some of you may be going “hey, Cannibal Holocaust, the poor sod just made a recommendation”, but you would be mistaken in your assumption. The best way I can really get to the heart of this is a quick PSA on broadening film horizons by seeing “important” films. Meet me on camera three:

Hi everybody. When the lady and I were first dating, and before I “mysteriously disappeared”, we would often attend the “Bad Monster Movie” nights in our home city. Every week or two there would be a double feature, usually starting around midnight, of two of the best of the worst in horror. This was the ploy that lured me in to the lady and her film obsession. An attractive, cool woman that seems to like you back and loves gory movies was the perfect “too good to be true” trap to land yours truly where he is; strapped to the radiator with a chain just long enough to reach the lonely toilet in the corner. Just before my disappearance we saw a film called Cannibal Holocaust: an Italian film based on the idea that a film crew went in to the deep jungle, saw the natives do what was natural for them and disgustingly barbaric to us, got lost and went insane in such a fashion as to take the worst of what the natives did look like Mr. Dressup (poor a little on the curb for Ernie Coombs, or look him up if outside Canada). I get the point; powerful metaphor for colonialism, suggestion that civilization is just as violent as those we see as inferior, blah, blah, blah, blah. For those unfamiliar, the director went for horrible realism and had to show up in court to prove he hadn’t actually murdered the actors. It is an important film for freedom of speech, a powerful challenge to our ideals and fucking terrible. I’m glad I saw it, but wish I could go back in time and unsee it (or at least find the right, powerful solvent to wash it from my looking balls). It had no sense of humour at all and the graphic nature simply sickened with no hope of telling an interesting story. The point of this ramble is, simply, that the “important” films aren’t always good and the awesome, too cool to be a real woman, woman is going to kidnap you and make you watch movies where nothing happens to amuse her. Just a heads up.

Sorry about that, it kind of wound on. Man Bites Dog (or This Happened in you Neighborhood), is what that other movie should have been. The violence is graphic, shocking and powerfully realistic. The opening scene, with no prior explanation, is a woman walking past a small, really diminutive man on a train only to be pulled into a side room and be strangled (in as believable a fashion as I have ever seen). The killer is the most amiable, likable guy and the film crew gets caught up in what he’s doing to such an extent that they end up helping at times. We’re told they are simply following the artist’s curse and are forced to document events, but they start pulling for the guy (and I did too). I wrote in the past about Stockholm Syndrome, but this crew seems to have gone beyond to Copenhagen Syndrome; an imaginary illness where the victim starts trying to outdo the captor (like making her watch Hot to Trot). I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but they join in on a bloody gang-rape/double homicide to blow off steam after a few bevies. I was amazed how quickly Benoit could win me over after disgusting me and, especially, how concerned I was when it all started to unravel. I was cheering for a man whose best comparison is Christian Bale in American Psycho based on the deeds he commits, but has moments where he is as lovable as Mr. Dressup. It makes all of the same comments on violence and society, but does it in a way that makes it worth watching.

All I can tell you is that I really enjoyed this one, which leads me to believe that my incarceration is starting to have a negative effect. I feel dirty liking it, I feel the lady has won a small victory in my liking it and, perhaps most importantly, I have a few new methods for escape inspired by my liking of it (but fear that I might just keep going after Cruella and bring a Benoit style, lovable murder spree to your neighborhood). I think I’d rather save my soul and wait for the lady to slip up rather than actively removing her (besides, the punishment I’d receive if I failed would be similar to the flute and broomstick from the film). Is this the perfect film to watch with the family over what I think is the holiday season, no, is it the type of movie that you will feel dirty about enjoying and want to discuss with others, yes (but don’t go hiring a film crew to document your exploits if too inspired). At worst, you’ll meet the most likable sociopath I’ve bumped into in film (think Dexter with sense of humour and magnetic charm, but French).

Until the next time I chew the rope away, keep looking for me on milk boxes,

The Hostage


~ by stew37 on December 31, 2010.

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