Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Directed by Meir Zarchi
1978. Not Rated (originally Rated X), 100 minutes.
Camille Keaton
Eron Tabor
Richard Pace
Anthony Nichols
Gunter Kleeman

Young novelist Jennifer (Keaton) seeks revenge against the men who gang-rape her while she's on vacation. This is a very difficult movie to watch. In most gore flicks, the brutality and blood resulting from it are so overblown it's not to be believed. When we watch a Saw flick, for instance, and see some contraption that obviously took an entire crew to build obliterate someone's head and blood splattering in all directions it's shocking and disgusting but so over the top it feels like we're watching a movie. Here, the rape scenes are not only explicit in their viciousness but depicted in a way that makes us feel like we're watching, well, rape. This is far more unsettling and frankly, repulsive, especially since we get three rather lengthy scenes of it. Many people have stopped watching in the middle of one or the other and never finished the movie and I can't say that I blame them. However, there are a couple payoffs if you manage to make it through this part of the film, one for the film itself and one for the viewer. For the film, its reward is your unwavering support for the victim regardless of what she plans to do to these guys. You can even dismiss the fact that our villains are beyond stupid and simply fall for whatever she throws their way. For you, I won't completely spoil the reward but I'm sure you can guess. Let's just say it becomes a "girl power" film of the highest, and perhaps most disturbing order. Not surprisingly, it's one of the most polarizing movies ever because many see it as misogynist and dismiss it as a vile piece of cinema. Even Roger Ebert once called it "the worst movie ever made." I have quite the opposite viewpoint. Much the way many anti-war movies use graphic combat scenes to help make its point, this uses decidedly anti-woman occurrences to achieve a remarkably unrestrained brand of feminism. Oh, and you may never...ever...ever get the bathtub scene out of your head.

MY SCORE: 7.5/10

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