I've read a lot of reviews of this one, and loving singing myself, I was flabbergasted hearing Jane Horrocks' character LV (Elvie, or Little Voice) belt out an entire concert of big time hits after enduring her initial complete silence. She was such an easy character to root for (I'm rather a shy recluse myself) and watching Michael Caine and Brenda Blethlyn scheme behind her back (or right in front of her after her performance, which she thought would be the only one required) made me cringe and want to personally carry her off to safety.
Great film and one that got very little initial exposure.
I love rooting out all these gems from amid the gaudy, overrated garbage foist upon the moviegoing public! -- Troy Merrick
Good God, please tell me there's not some asshole out there who took a first date to this one.
Even knowing beforehand the two "big" scenes existed somewhere in the narrative (a protracted rape scene and a likewise drawn-out head-mashing sequence) did nothing to prepare me for how debasing and cringe-worthy they are.
Irreversible's plot unfold in reverse (IrREVERSible, get it?) and concerns a trio, two men and a woman, who attend a party and engage in subtle and not-so-subtle sexual head games. Later, she grows frustrated with her boyfriend, leaves the party, and is raped in a subway tunnel (one of the two aforementioned examples of human depravity), while the camera remains fixed and unblinking for what seems like ETERNITY.
Later in the plot, but earlier in the movie, due to Gaspar Noe's controversial style, the two blokes seek revenge and plod through a frankly depressing homosexual "club" (for lack of a better term) looking for La Tenia, the human cockroach believed to have been her assailant. What transpires when they find him comprises the second notorious scene, and I initially thought it was the boyfriend who suffered the repeated blows. I was highly (from a revenge standpoint) and lowly (from simply an audience member one) relieved that it was La Tenia who endured and died from over 20 (!) crushing shots -- again, with nary a camera twitch --from the largest fire extinguisher I've ever seen. The scene was obviously contrived to make such subjective cinema lists as "most disgusting scenes" or "gruesome deaths."
These scenes are in stark contrast with the well-lighted, convivial and touching ones that come up later (but, again, happened earlier chronologically -- confusing?) and after enduring the amount of violence heaped on my head earlier, I was too rattled to know how much they mattered.
Just got done watching it and I honestly don't know how another horror film can be made after this! Turns the genre on its ear, combining the traditional horror tale with the weariness of Big Brother monitoring one's every move. Throw in every manifestation of fear, toss into a blender, and you get one of the best horror films I've ever seen. Literally must be seen probably three or four times to get everything!
I'm torn as I write this review, and am right now watching it a second time. I remember being a young kid David's age and having a crush on the daughter of one of my dad's friends from work. I'm 40 now, and hope I would have acted sooner if that girl had endured what Meg here does. Against those odds, I probably would have been just as scared, but there's no way in hell I would have sat and watched.
But that's just what I had to do as a viewer -- sit and watch, when all I wanted to do was reach in the screen and kill every single one of Meg's tormenters. Many, if not most of those clamoring for societal order would peg me just as loathsome for wanting to hurt them but I just don't care. Evil must be punished and it simply isn't in this country.
One man's horror is another man's kitsch, but the world is indeed a frightening place on a daily basis. Young soldiers are killed overseas, drunk drivers slay or maim new victims regularly, shootings and stabbings are a dime a dozen, disease and illnesses claim the innocent over and over. These and other offenses suffered by the human race have almost come to be expected as part and parcel of being alive.
It's the ghost story, however, especially one that occurs in someone's home -- where one assumes safe sanctuary from all the evil "out there" -- that has been circulated since time immemorial. Paranormal Activity 2, like its predecessor only a year ago, shows that once you've turned off the television set or put down the newspaper after being inundated with bad news, you may, perhaps tonight, face some evil of your own.
This film follows a young family whose house is also inhabited by an unseen entity who apparently wants their young son. Mom is sister to Katie from the first film, and the two spend one scene discussing their own mother and what went on in their home when they were children (possibly setting groundwork to complete a film triumvirate). This time there are several camera viewpoints with which the viewer pores the parameters of the scene, waiting for something otherworldly to happen. This results from an excellent premise, as the family has returned home to find basically every possession broken or strewn about. Classic poltergeist fodder. Nothing has been taken, but nonetheless they install security cameras about the homestead.
These films, whether or not they're based on "true events," work for me, challenging though they may be to the viewer. Unlike traditional film, where what the viewer is meant to see is usually placed front and center, PA and PA2 force the ticket buyer to scour the screen from time to time. Will that door swing open, will that ball float across the room, will the house shake with a blow at 3 a.m. that threatens to cave the walls in? Or will nothing happen, often the most frightening option of all? I personally can't imagine existing in constant fear of what will happen to me in my own.
H.P. Lovecraft said "the oldest emotion to man is fear, and the strongest kind of fear is of the unknown," but even the old master rarely if ever tantalized with the terror of sharing one's home with the supernatural.
For me, the best vignette in PA2 is when the daughter is babysitting her brother and answers the door after an angry, insistent knock. She is locked out when it slams forcefully behind her (Later her father claims it was the wind. Why in ghost stories almost without exception does the blockheaded father need to be nearly struck full in the face with evidence to be convinced there's something wrong with his home? Isn't the daily tears and insistence of his female kin enough to tip him off?) and the toddler has free reign of the home for a bit. The vulnerability of that child, oblivious to the malevolence swirling around him, scraped a nerve like no other.
It's frustrating to me, as a lover of ghost stories to hear movies like this dismissed flippantly, like a coworker who simply, without elaboration, said "It was stupid!" Just because so many of today's horror movies rely on splattery special effects, pounding music and far more jump-out-of-your-seat moments than are proper even for the twitch-minded mentality prevalent in today's youth (even in remakes of older films!) doesn't mean a simple tale of the unexplained has no place on the mantle of fear.
I'll take a door swinging open a foot or so with no explanation over an amorphous what-the-hell-is-it from outer space anytime, thank you.