Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Man Who Never Was, or: Operation Mincemeat Is a Terrible Codename

The next few weeks on the blog are basically anything goes as we Blog Free or Die Hard. Freedom, carpe diem, etc. This week I picked a WWII thriller because I didn’t think I could handle two Polanski films in a row. I do really love Chinatown, though.  Our film for the week is the nonsensically titled The Man Who Never Was.

As usual, find Christa’s review here!

The Film:

The Man Who Never Was

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Those sneaky Brits come up with a plan to mislead the Nazis about where the invasion of Sicily will occur.

The Uncondensed Version:

Based on the introduction, this film is going to be super melodramatic. These two military dudes are talking, and the younger dude (Montagu) gets stuck with the job of tricking the Germans into thinking the invasion of Sicily will be somewhere else (NOTE: I was trying to place the younger guy, Montagu, and I finally Googled him [bad librarian]. He’s that really sketchy journalist in Laura!)

Even though he is apparently a reasonably important naval commander, Montagu seems to have a staff of two to accomplish this. But maybe that’s normal for the military, IDK.

A man reads from a portfolio in a basement office as two employees look on.
Understaffed? Underfunded? Check and check.

Staff = assistant Pam and this lieutenant who is also an assistant. I felt he wasn’t particularly important in this film, so I didn’t really make an effort to figure out exactly what his role was. Pam is def important, along with her roommate of loose morals, Gloria Grahame. Obv Lucy/Gloria Grahame is American b/c no Englishwoman would have such low standards of morality. It sucks to be Lucy as the dude she’s dating is a pilot, and she is way more into him than she’d like to admit.

But back to the military strategy side of things. Montagu decides he will fool the Nazis by planting the body of a downed pilot off the coast of Spain. This is Operation Mincemeat, aka one of the worst codenames for a military operation in history. There are two major obstacles to overcome for the plan to work: 1. Montagu needs a body, and 2. The strategic meeting pretty much exists for all of the important military dudes to criticize Montagu’s plan and person.

A man with military decoration rests his hand reassuringly on another man's arm.
HOLD IT TOGETHER, MAN.

However, Montagu eventually manages to wrangle a body from a Scotsman. He and his crew have to spend quite a lot of time deciding what the pilot should be carrying: passport, love letters, picture of Gloria Grahame, etc.

After Montagu sets the body on its way, he is troubled, which you know because there are shots of him thinking about the ocean while everyone else is laughing and having a jolly old time.

Surprisingly, things go according to plan, and the Greeks or Italians or whatever find the body. (It took me a while to figure out what nationality these ‘50s people were going for, but it’s Spanish.)

In a dramatic twist, a Nazi spy arrives in London and starts stalking Gloria Grahame. Will GG be able to fool the Nazis, save England, and preserve life as we know it? (Sorry, Christa, I just stole your blog technique.)

I’ll give you a hint: GG comes in really drunk and starts reciting Tennyson and half-assedly playing the piano and crying.

A woman looks blearily around her as she sits at a piano.
Oh, girl. We’ve all been there.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I expected this to be a bit more on the thriller/film noir end of the spectrum, but there were quite a lot of lengthy logistical discussions. Ex: there was a scene where Montagu was rubbing a letter on a cabinet to make it look old, followed by a discussion about why exactly he was doing so. Not the most gripping dialogue in the history of cinema.

And, typically, Montagu ends up with a medal and GG doesn’t even get a fucking mention.

Have you read Christa’s review yet? Well, why not? You can find it here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Rosemary’s Baby, or: No No No No No No

One last film for Horror Month even though it’s November! Rosemary’s Baby, which I’m not ashamed to admit I watched during the day. Demon babies, you guys. As if I didn’t find childbirth horrendous enough to begin with.

Find out if Christa is made of sterner stuff here!

The Film:

Rosemary’s Baby

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

I really hope you have a basic idea of the premise b/c I’m about to spoil the fuck out of this film. Please stop reading this review and watch the film if you haven’t.

The Uncondensed Version:

We’re off to an ominous start with the fucking creepy lullaby that opens our film. It’s really effective, but I hate it.

Basic setup is that Guy, a struggling actor, and his wife, Rosemary are looking for an apartment so they can settle down and make some babies. It’s really hard to watch the apartment hunt without constantly screaming “Don’t do it! Don’t fucking do it, Rosemary! Don’t open that door! Don’t move that fucking dresser!” Plus it’s really frustrating to watch all the men totally dismiss everything Rosemary says ALL THE DAMN TIME even though she is a really observant person and is usually fucking right.

Inevitably, Guy and Rosemary move into the creepy apartment even though their only genuine friend tells them in detail all of the shit that happened there.

It doesn’t take long before Rosemary meets a woman who lives in the building. This lady has a troubled past, but a seemingly nice couple has taken her in and given her a good luck charm that may or may not contain herbs to be used in Satanic rituals (it does). The two women decide to do laundry together, which is I guess is how women socialized in the ‘60s.

All of this comes to a halt when the lady from the laundry room ends up dead on the sidewalk in an apparent suicide. In their grief, Minnie and Roman, the “nice” couple from the apartment building, invite Guy and Rosemary over for dinner.

A middle-aged woman with hair up in a bandana stands next to a younger woman.
RUN AWAY.

So begins the most disturbing relationship between neighbors I can think of outside of Hitchcock. Roman does give us some nice lines about religion being all show business, but it makes me really reconsider the appreciation I have for criticizing organized religion. I am running the other way from the next person I hear disparaging the Pope.

Even though Guy was not into the idea of hanging out with the nosy neighbors, he becomes close with Roman. Meanwhile, Minnie is constantly inviting herself over and giving Rosemary things, like a Satan good luck charm of her very own.

Shortly after, Guy gets a part he’d auditioned for when another actor suddenly goes blind. Guy feels conflicted for approximately 3 seconds, but takes the role anyway and decides he’s ready to try for a baby. The baby making goes terribly wrong when Minnie brings mousse that Rosemary says has a chalky aftertaste. Fucking Guy says there’s no aftertaste and tells her to finish the mousse. GIRL. GET THE FUCK OUT.

A man and woman sit across from each other at a dining table. The woman is drinking a glass of wine.
Worst human being.

The mousse gives Rosemary really disturbing dreams, which she suddenly realizes weren’t dreams at all. When she wakes up, she has scratches all over her back, and Guy explains that he continued with their baby making plans when Rosemary was passed out. Gross gross gross gross gross.

I don’t want to completely spoil the entire movie, so let’s just say the creepiness continues to escalate (seriously, though, watch the damn film).

Everyone thinks it’s appropriate to control all elements of Rosemary’s pregnancy and even her hair. She gets so much shit for her pixie cut that I’m amazed she didn’t give anyone a black eye.

Two older men sit in a living room, talking to a younger woman with short hair.
Proper response when you don’t like someone’s haircut: KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

And I admit I know little to nothing about pregnancy, but the doctor tells her the stabbing pain in her chest is normal. Fucking men.

The Critique:

URGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH, I am even more afraid of childbirth after this film (that and parties). I think I should just get my ovaries removed now.

This film gets to the terror and claustrophobia of big city life or maybe that’s just the antisocial impulse in me. Also men being, as a whole, a bunch of douchebags.  It’s incredibly frustrating that a film in which a woman is manipulated by men and has no control over her own body is still so relevant.

There is no film as suspenseful as this one besides Strangers on a Train or perhaps Chinatown. It occurs to me how similar this is to Chinatown, actually, and Mia Farrow/Faye Dunaway could be twins. I really want to watch that film now, but I should probably just leave it…it’s Chinatown.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I don’t know if this film is more creepy or enraging, but it’s a good one either way.

Find out if Christa is creeped out, enraged, or completely unperturbed in her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Cockneys vs. Zombies, or: It’s All Bubble and Squeak to Me

I can’t believe Horror Month, aka October, is drawing to a close. We lightened things up a bit this time around with what is destined to become a classic of British cinema. Christa’s review, as always, is here!

The Film:

Cockneys vs. Zombies

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

You don’t need a synopsis to understand what this film is about.  I believe in you.

The Uncondensed Version:

Things aren’t off to a great start for construction workers who uncover a plague pit while working. It’s probably not the best idea to explore the plague pit, but I would’ve done the same thing. How many opportunities will you really have to explore a plague pit in your lifetime?

One, as it turns out, esp. if the plague victims are zombies.

Our film really follows brothers Terry and Andy as they attempt to make an honest living, which is a challenge when their primary source of income is delivering meals on wheels. Added obstacle: their grandfather may be left homeless when his retirement home is demolished to make way for luxury apartments.

Though Grandpa stresses the value of hard, honest work, the Terry and Andy decide to rob a bank with the help of a questionable group of friends and family. This, of course, goes horribly wrong, but the swift and sudden outbreak of the zombie apocalypse is pretty convenient, honestly.

two men in construction crew uniforms wear fake mustaches
Disguises could use some work…

Meanwhile, zombies crash a birthday party at the retirement home. Grandpa is a WWII vet, so he’s reasonably prepared to wage war against the zombies. The film follows the bank robbers as they try to make it to the retirement home to save Grandpa.

a group of elderly people stand around another elderly man, who is seated

Along the way, we lose quite a few of our filler characters who were really only here to die. I felt a teensy bit bad that I didn’t care when any of these characters died. However, I blame the film for failing to resonate emotionally. Or I’m a sociopath, whatever. IDGAF.

Ultimately, the bank robbers stockpile weapons and drive to the retirement home in a double-decker bus. It’s just like that scene in Spice World.

The Critique (back by popular demand):

Honestly, what’s not to like? Zombies + Cockney rhyming slang.

I may be reading too much into this one, but I think it was quite empowering regarding the more mature generation. Granddad drops the f bomb A LOT and uses his military strategies to keep himself and the others alive. In his words, “We’re old age pensioners—we’ve got to take care of ourselves!”

It’s a shame there aren’t more films in which old people use the word “fuck,” isn’t it? I feel that’s a more honest depiction of the elderly; I will be an incredibly foul-mouthed old cat lady with at least one cat named Lady Fuckoffanddie. Hopefully Judi Dench will make a movie where she cusses a lot and fights zombies. Or maybe Julie Walters. Julie Walters seems more the type, doesn’t she?

The downside was lack of character depth and how deliberately the film tried to be gross/offensive at times. As a whole, the older characters were more interesting and deserved more screen time.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherHalf Pink Panther head 3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

My mind kept going back to Grabbers, my fave horror-comedy we’ve reviewed, and this film isn’t quite as magnificent. I expected way more terrible dialogue, and I’m not sure if I’m more disappointed or relieved that it was mostly absent.

Goose’s Gregory Peck aahhht Christa’s review ‘ere. Rather, check out Christa’s review here!

Obviously I had way too much fun with this Cockney rhyming slang translator.

Last stanza of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” for example:

“I ‘ave Pearly Queen them ridin’ seaward on the chuffin’ waves combin’ the bloomin’ white Barnet Fair of the waves blahn Hammer and Tack when the wind blows the Ten Furlongs white and black. We ‘ave lingered in the chambers of the Housemaid’s Knee by sea-girls wreathed wif seaweed red and brown till ‘uman voices wake us, and we drahn.”

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Antisocial, Not a Description of This Blogger (For Once)

Horror Month, part 3! This week’s film is Christa’s pick. Do I really have to tell you where to find her excellent review? Here. It’s here.

The Film:

Antisocial

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A zombie plague spreads very politely through social media in Canada.

The Uncondensed Version:

First of all, on a scale of 1 to Canadian, this movie is really fucking Canadian.

Instances of the word “aboot” instead of “about”: 86,357

Number of sweaters worn: 5,114

Apologies: countless

I guess you might want to know more about this film than that. Right? Maybe?

So there are these teen vloggers who have this sort of fashion vlog (I’ll stop using that word now, Christa). It all seems to be going rather swimmingly and one of them even looks like a character from Orphan Black, so I’m already on board. However, one suddenly attacks the other, who commits violent murder in self-defense.

Cut to Sam, who dresses exactly like Sarah from Orphan Black but with less eyeliner. Or maybe it’s just the way Canadians dress? It’s the same old storyline but via Skype: she’s pregnant, her boyfriend wants to take a break. Sick of this shit, Sam deletes a thinly disguised version of Facebook, the Social Red Room (which is a terrible name for a social media platform).

a woman wearing dark clothes and a beanie walks down the empty hallway of a school building
Welcome to Clone Club.

Obviously with no social media to share her fabulous New Year’s plans on, Sam opts for pity party over party with friends. However, her friends have other plans and decide to throw a party at her place. There’s a lot of drinking, social media-ing, and burning of sparklers in the house (which is extremely unsafe and I do not condone).

a man in a plaid shirt holds two lit sparklers while inside a house
YOU’RE GOING TO BURN THE HOUSE DOWN. IN THE LITERAL SENSE.

Everyone seems to be having a nice time until Jed, social media guru and Most Likely to Have Paranoid Conspiracy Theory to Explain Everything, starts tracking multiple updates about what is basically a zombie plague. Zombie people break up the party because obv they do, and 9-1-1 gives essentially a keep calm and carry on message.

The remainder of the film is Sam and her friends trapped inside, getting the virus one by one. Coincidentally, getting trapped at a party and not being able to leave is one of my phobias. Death by zombie plague would be a relief, honestly.

Other things that happen in this film:

  1. One of the characters gets a call from an unknown number and picks up; I call bullshit. Everyone knows you let that shit go to voicemail b/c it’s probably someone trying to tell you you’ve won a cruise.
  2. Jed loses his shit.
  3. One of the characters gets zombified and dies by hanging…from Christmas lights (I’m not nuts about Christmas either).

Guys, I just didn’t really get into this one, plus I’m having…not my favorite Monday ever. The sort of “social media will kill us all” theme felt kind of tired to me and just annoyed me. Will it? Will it really?

Am I too much of a millennial? IDGAF. I am who I am.

Ready for sleep. Seacrest out.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Compare with Christa’s notes here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Hellbound, or: Pinterest Is a Downward Spiral

Hellraiser pre-dates the Great Blog Collab, but I feel it’s one of the films that brought Christa and I together. We are both in love with the film, yet we haven’t seen any of the sequels, so it was kind of inevitable we’d review Hellraiser 2 during Horror Month. The sequel should be fun even if it’s exceedingly unlikely to be as good as the first. Let’s find out, shall we? You know the drill: Christa’s thoughts here all day, every day.

The Film:

Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

It’s the sequel to Hellraiser, guys. There are Cenobites and demon Rubik’s cubes.

The Uncondensed Version:

This film gives you a convenient recap of Hellraiser in case you haven’t seen it or have forgotten what it’s about. So in Hellraiser there’s a demon Rubik’s cube that Kirsty uses to send Pinhead and the other Cenobites back to hell. Before that can happen, she loses her father because her stepmother is trying to resurrect Kirsty’s uncle through blood sacrifice, and Kirsty’s father just happens to be one of the victims.

It’s probably surprising to no one that this whole experience was pretty traumatizing for Kirsty. As our film opens, she has been institutionalized. (Some of the asylum scenes inevitably reminded me of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, so it was difficult to take them seriously.) This seems to be bad news as (a) Kirsty’s stepmother is kind of living in the mattress she died on and can still be resurrected, (b) one of the doctors at the asylum seems to perform some really unethical surgeries and likes to talk about the final solution, and (c) Kirsty has repetitive nightmares that her father is in hell and she must save him.

A bloody human body, skin stripped from the flesh, lies in a pool of blood. Bloody letters on the wall spell "I am in hell. Help me."
Not subtle as far as a cry for help goes.

However, Kirsty’s probably not getting out any time soon, esp. as she keeps shouting things like “You have got to destroy that mattress!”

Two people who are going to be important: Kyle, a sympathetic doctor, and Tiffany, aka Puzzle Girl. Kyle decides to help Kirsty after witnessing Julia, the stepmother, resurrect in a rather disturbing manner and sort of eating some dude’s brain. Julia has basically everything she needs except skin, so in a rather Silence of the Lambs­-y move, she makes herself a suit from the skin of other women. This is where the timeline gets a bit screwy to me b/c presumably Kyle doesn’t wait days to weeks to help Kirsty after realizing she was telling the truth about her stepmother being demonic. But it would be hard to kill and skin half a dozen people really quickly even if you’re undead, right? Like it would probably take you at least 3 or 4 days I would think, not including sewing time? Whatever, it’s not super important to the plot I suppose.

A human missing all skin hunches over, looking over its shoulder. It's really creepy, trust me.
To be fair, pretty disturbing.

Anyway, since Tiffany can’t resist solving puzzles, the doctor and Julia give her the Rubik’s cube of doom to solve. She inevitably does, which of course summons the Cenobites, including Pinhead (who I can’t stop mentally calling “Pinterest”). Two points here: (1) I don’t remember Pinhead speaking at all in the first one, so it was surprising when he started talking in this really deep, booming voice, and (2) the word “Cenobite” is just brilliant, isn’t it?

A demon with many pins emerging from his face and head stands in a misty blue haze.
Obviously you can’t mention Hellraiser without including a still of Pinterest. Pinhead. Damnit.

So since solving the cube opened the portal to hell, everyone is pretty much just wandering around hell at this point. OF COURSE there’s a carnival part with the creepiest baby ever with its lips sewn shut. Shudder.

A woman faces a gigantic floating fetus that looks shiny and sticky.
WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

This might be spoiler-y, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Julia is just using the doctor. I don’t think it should surprise anyone when Julia betrays him and sacrifices him to the Leviathan, which is…a box. With sort of vine/tentacle hands. This leads to the doctor becoming a Cenobite with pretty cool snake hands and truly terrible lines about the doctor being in.

Ultimately, everyone is pitted against everyone else: Kirsty/Tiffany vs. Julia, Cenobite Dr. vs. Other Cenobites, Julia vs. Cenobite Dr., Kirsty/Tiffany vs. Cenobite Dr., etc.

I’m going to be honest, most of the fight scenes are pretty lame. I feel like most of the budget went into animating the snake hands. Surely you’d rather find out for yourself what happens? You can probably guess—I believe in you.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherHalf Pink Panther head 3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Largely for consistency. I gave Hellraiser 4/5, and I don’t think this is quite on the same level. The plot made way less sense, and the doctor was kind of disappointing as an antagonist. Julia and Pinhead deserved way more screen time. Realistically, Hellraiser deserves a higher rating, but we are moving forward, not backwards.

You know Christa has a lot to say about this one in her review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Starry Eyes, or: Those Satanists Are Ruining Hollywood

I’m not going to apologize for this review because I CANNOT stop apologizing to absolutely everyone at my new job, and I’m driving myself nuts. Still, I’m somewhat embarrassed about the quality of this post. Horror Month is kicking off not with a bang, but with a whimper. On the bright side, it could be worse.

I promise you Christa’s review is full of snark but lighter on the self-deprecation. Read her post here!

The Film:

Starry Eyes

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A struggling actress gets an offer that seems too good to be true…because it’s an offer from Hollywood Satanists.

The Uncondensed Version:

Our story is your basic struggling actress plot but with a horror twist. Sarah is a waitress who works for what is essentially the Hooters of tater tots. She’s a fairly typical character except she isn’t very nice to herself, and does this rather painful-looking hair yanking thing whenever she messes something up.

It doesn’t help that her friends are kind of shitty, including a frenemy who rubs it in Sarah’s face when she gets a part they both auditioned for as well as that one creepy dude friend. The acting career isn’t really taking off, so Sarah jumps at the opportunity to star in the rather sketchy The Silver Scream. She’s desperate, so she doesn’t even care that the people she’s auditioning for are super judgmental and detached, telling her directly that she has to impress them or she’ll be forgotten like thousands of other girls. After presumably fucking up this audition, Sarah goes into the bathroom and does her hair-pulling routine.

a woman in a public bathroom stall holds her head in her hands
KEEP IT TOGETHER, SARAH.

Oddly, she is called back to the audition and asked to repeat the hair-pulling performance. Instead of being creeped out and getting the fuck out like a normal person, Sarah obliges. Even though she thinks the audition went horribly, she gets a call back.

The second audition is even weirder, and she has to get naked in a dark room while a camera takes her picture with a blinding flash. RUN, SARAH.

After all of this, Sarah gets a meeting with the producer who is, of course, a creepy old man. He goes on about people worshipping the god of debauchery and all of the weirdos in Hollywood before being a complete perv. Sarah hesitates to cross that line, but eventually returns as the lure of stardom is too great. During this second meeting, it becomes clear the producer is a Satanist or at least really into summoning demons and occult worship.  Maybe I’m being unfair because I’m not really sure what a Satanist looks like or what a Satanist believes.

a man sitting in a law office holds his hands out while smiling creepily
GROSS.

Shortly after, Sarah’s friends become concerned by her sudden sleazy/violent behavior. Things rapidly go from bad to worse, and we get our first truly disgusting scene of the film that involves pulling her own fingernails out, bleeding from everyfuckingwhere, and throwing up maggots. Honestly the fingernail part was the vilest bit of this film to me. If you can watch it without wincing, more power to you.

I suppose I shouldn’t give every last detail away, so let’s just say there’s a lot of bloody murder at the end. A LOT.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Eh…there was nothing in particular to dislike about this film, but I also didn’t get really into it. It’s nice that this was a horror story with a purpose, but I felt it was a bit lacking in oomph.

About halfway through, I wondered where all the blood and guts were and why no one had died yet. Admittedly it got pretty disgusting, but I had to wait a damn long time (those fingernails, man. Haunting my dreams tonight).

Idk, guys, have I just lost any semblance of an attention span?

Check out the brilliance that is Christa’s review here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Filth, or: Remarkable Levels of Desensitization

Last week of free reign until mindless gory horror month begins in…2 days?!?!?!?! 2 DAYS. So ready.

My pick this time around is Filth, which I have been meaning to watch forever but have been avoiding (STUPIDLY) because I didn’t want to watch Jamie Bell act like a complete sleaze bucket. Billy Elliot is one of my favorite bad day films, and I didn’t want to watch it at some point in the future and think about Billy snorting coke and visiting prostitutes a few years down the road.

Christa beat me to the punch on this one, but she was cool with watching again b/c she’s in general a cool human being. You can find her thoughts, various and sundry, here.

The Film:

Filth

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, corrupt cop, backstabber, and all-around scumbag scheming for a promotion in Edinburgh.

The Uncondensed Version:

This is tricky because I have a lot of things to say about this film, but it’s reasonably important not to give everything away.

I’d say there are essentially a series of mysteries surrounding Bruce’s character, the main one being whether or not he will land the big promotion that he’s doing his best to lie and manipulate his way into. According to some kind of bizarre scenes with Bruce’s wife, the promotion is the only thing that can fix whatever has happened between them and make her respect him again. When Bruce is assigned to a murder case, everything hinges on whether he can catch the skinheads who brutally murdered a Japanese student.

Right off the bat it’s clear that (1) James McAvoy is beautiful and I forgot how perfect his voice is, and (2) Bruce has issues. With anger, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual relationships (and, in fact, all human relationships), lying, and feeling absolutely no remorse. He tells us how great Scotland is while looking absolutely disgusted with humanity and making small children cry. Needless to say, this film made a great impression within the first 15 minutes.

A man covers his ears as he passes another man playing bagpipes on a street corner
Not a fan of the bag pipes. The shame.

Bruce introduces us to his coworkers (including Jamie Bell/Billy Elliot and Billy Elliot’s dad!), all of whom he is actively trying to sabotage in order to guarantee his promotion. So Bruce works on the murder case, but it really takes a backseat to having affairs, spreading nasty rumors, and making everyone uncomfortable.

Just to emphasize what a shitty human being Bruce is, we have Cliff, his best and only friend. Bruce is making anonymous calls of a suggestive nature to Cliff’s wife, Bunty (Shirley Henderson wearing a shitload of make up). Since Cliff is a prominent accountant, the case is supposed to get Bruce’s first priority…and it does. Just not in the way his superiors probably intended.

A man and woman look across at each other from opposite ends of a white sofa. Behind them is a large painting of a lion attacking a zebra.
Have I mentioned I want their living room??? Because I want their living room.  THAT PAINTING.

This is all going reasonably well for Bruce until he tries and fails to revive a man who collapses on the street. After this incident, Bruce seems to be genuinely disturbed as he’s haunted by visions of a dead child. It also becomes clear that things aren’t as great on the home front, esp. as we never actually see Bruce interact with his wife and child.

For the remainder of the film, Bruce just continues to lose his shit while experiencing increasingly vivid hallucinations of various people as animals. Also his psychiatrist, Jim Broadbent with a an Australian accent, who reminds him only winners get laid and that you should trust no one, especially not yourself. So basically the same thing any psychiatrist would say, right?

A man in a labcoat gestures to a framed picture of worm-like creatures
IDK if you guys have ever done therapy, but this is exactly how it went for me.

Okay, that’s all I’ll say because if you enjoy films in which absolutely everyone is despicable, the humor is pitch black, and the protagonist is certifiably insane, you may want to actually watch this one. Or at least stare at James McAvoy’s beautiful face. Either way, I don’t want to ruin this film for you.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

Even though this movie was disgusting and depraved, it’s really hard to shock me any more (which I attribute to Wetlands).  Have I just become so desensitized that nothing disturbs me any more???  Is our blog collab taking that much of a toll on my mental health???  I’d like to see you prove that in a court of law.  Still…I think more disturbing than the scenes designed to repulse viewers is how remorselessly Bruce manipulates everyone to get what he wants.  Also how attractive James McAvoy is even as the sleaziest dirtbag ever.

Not a perfect film, but James McAvoy losing his shit is the best kind of James McAvoy. All of the acting in this one was spot-on, honestly.

The only down side is I really, really want to watch Trainspotting again now. It’s on Netflix, Christa! Eh, eh, eh?

Speak of the devil…you know Christa has a lot of delightfully snarky things to say about this film. Why are you still here when you could be reading her review here?