Wednesday, 31 May 2017

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: RAW



8/10

Justine is starting at veterinary school and it's the first time she has been away from her controlling parents, who insist on her being an absolute vegetarian. It's the first week and she has already tasted a piece of raw meat. This creates a constant craving. As the attraction to her roommate grows stronger, and the competition with the older sister becomes too much to bear, how long will she be able to fight the hunger for human flesh?

RAW became infamous when at numerous premiers people walked out, vomited and fainted. This created a reputation of a "must see" film for any horror fan. In fact RAW has only a couple of disturbing moments, and even those are dependant on the circumstances of the scene - the gore is much less disturbing than the predicament the characters find themselves in. 

Horrors aside, RAW is a feministic tale about being different and learning things about oneself in the process, that may not quite please you. It is also a tale of inheritance, and of what it’s like being “a prisoner of birth”. In France, where the class system is stronger than ever, this is a very familiar issue. Once you are a part of a certain circle it is almost impossible to break free.


Plotwise, RAW has a few surprises in store. The script is more complex than it seems at first sight and the final revelation, if not entirely unexpected, is a satisfying one. All in all RAW feels like a very complete piece of moviemaking, deep enough not to be boring; entertaining, but with a clear message and a punch in the gut when you least expect it. It is designed to shock you to make you think. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: BATTLE OF MEMORIES


7/10

In the future a new healthcare procedure is introduced - the unwanted memories of an individual can be erased at a price. Feng, a successful writer, has undergone the procedure, but has to come back for his memories - the only way his wife will divorce him is if he has all the memories of her restored. Things get twisted however when, instead of his memories, Feng is exposed to the memories of a serial killer. The only way to catch him is to remember everything. But as the killer's memories bring out violent behaviour in Feng, it may be not too long before he himself is turned into a monster. 

The best thing about THE BATTLE OF MEMORIES is how fresh the screenplay feels. It is a small budget production that puts up a sophisticated and ambitious thriller with a few interesting sci fi ideas, and a compelling mystery. The story loses momentum somewhere in the middle, but recovers towards the end, nicely wrapping up most of the details that at first seemed unclear or out of place. The red herrings and diversions will confuse even the most seasoned mystery lover. During most of the film you do feel like you are one step ahead of the storytelling, but this proves to be deceptive. Even with only a few suspects you will not know the identity of the killer until the very end.

The film is shot in a dark pallet, with barely any sunshine and all the memory sequences (and there are a lot of them) are all in black in white. The dialogue is minimalistic and there's a feeling it only exists to serve the plot. The futuristic setting is so simple, it seems it is rather serving the budget than the plot, but the camera work is eye candy and redeems the failure of expensive props.

BATTLE OF MEMORIES is a nowhere close to being a competitor to Hollywood blockbusters but is quirky enough to have fun with. The plot is unusual enough to warrant a remake. In this case, with a bigger budget, better acting and brushed-up script, it may be an improvement on the  original.