Jarv gets pissy at Martyrs.
Please do not adjust your internets. This is a minor interruption in your normal pleasant changian reading….
As a rule, I fucking loathe Torture Porn. It’s a creatively bankrupt and pathetic rendering of horror, and as such it makes me actually want to torture the bastards that make it.
However, Pascal Laugier’s boring and repellent 2008 magnum shitpus Martyrs is usually held up as one of the finer examples of the genre. It isn’t. It’s crap.
I’ve seen it before, but there’s some weird revisionism going on about this film (as in that it isn’t crap), as such, and that it’s on Lovefilm, I’m rewatching it at this moment. I’m roughly half way through- and this is the plot so far:
Pre-teen girl with shaven head has been slapped around for a while. Two adult women have pitched up at a house, one of them has slaughtered the family, and is being cut up periodically by a hideously scarred naked chick. The other one is, well, pointless. The mother has survived and both hit-women are now having to confront hideously scarred naked chick (I wonder who she could be).
For the rest of this experiment, I’m going to watch it and comment with massive amounts of scorn on the crap unfolding in front of me…
(I hope someone else is around)
Before I turn this crap live- it can have an Orangutan of Doom- for painfully obvious reasons.
See you below the line.
OK- Here’s the actual review:
Martyrs opens with a genuinely strong image: a young girl with a shaven head running down a deserted industrial estate. Next thing we know, it cuts to Lucie and Anna, Mylene Jampanoia an Morjana Alaoui (both putting in good performances), as Lucie performs a home invasion and execution on a suburban family. Lucie is unfortunately then attacked by a mutilated chick (naked, natch) that cuts her severely. Anna returns to clear up, and Lucie is eventually killed by naked mutilated girl- who doesn’t actually exist (quelle surprise). Anna then discovers the dungeon in the house (I bet you can’t see where this is going) before being abducted.
She’s then tortured, slapped around, shaved etc, while a fat chick talks to her about Transfiguration and transcendence. Eventually, the shattered husk that remains is in the ideal state- and I won’t blow the ending (as tempting as it is).
Basically, this is a shitty fucking film. For the most part, it’s astonishingly boring. It’s also utterly trite. No amount of cod-psychology Freudian bollocks can disguise the fact that pretty much everything that happens in this film takes place inside the minds of our protaganists- and as such this isn’t exactly a cereberal insight into the consequences of abuse. It’s (actually) a superficial, moronic, and deeply predictable exercise in tedium and nausea, albeit a very well acted one.
I can’t bear the faux-intellectualism at the heart of this film. Laugier wanted to make a torture film, and that’s fine with me. Unfortunately he lacked the balls to make an out-and-out torture porn, so instead wasted his time and my time with this loathsome piece of cod-philosophy that has the fucking temerity to suggest that being on the receiving end of hideous abuse will lead you to enlightenment.
Well, fucko- it doesn’t. It leads to insanity.
The irony is, and it’s astonishing, is that this isn’t that bad in the way of violence and torture. It isn’t even that exploitative. What it actually is, is really boring. I know that sounds insane given the reputation this film carries, and there is a fair amont of splatter in it, but there’s pretty much nothing here that is even in the same league as Hostel, let alone the likes of Guinea Pig and August Underground.
Martyrs is, at the end of the day, a pointless and nihilistic failure. It fails as an art film, and unforgivably also manages to fail as torture porn. If ever a film can be described as utterly worthless, then it’s this one- it’s a loathsome in intent but flaccid in excution exercise in boredom and redundancy.
Without spoiling, I’m lost as to why this is meant to be powerful. It isn’t at all- it carries the power of a flat battery. The problem is that once the second half of the film starts what we’re effectively watching unfold is entirely predictable the moment that we see the woman with the head brace. There is no doubt where this film is going to end, and watching it come to fruition actually made me transcend rather than fucking Anna. Seriously, for a time, I was away with pink lollipops and a magical world made of candyfloss.
Watching this kind of gutter trash masquerading as art makes me miss the low rent fun of a crappy zombie film with lots of boob. It’s pretentious garbage, and as it tries so hard to conceal what it really is (and fails dismally), in a strange way it’s kind of sad. So much effort went in to so little effect.
It’s actually so bad that I’d rather watch Hostel again.
And you don’t get shittier than that.
Until next time,