Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thriller: A Cruel Picture

As part of my vaguely-planned ongoing campaign to see movies that have influenced Quentin Tarantino, I was excited to see this sleazy Swedish exploitation flick. Allegedly, its portrayal of a girl with an eyepatch taking revenge on those who forced her into prostitution was the reason that Daryl Hannah has a patch in Kill Bill.

And I guess it's possible. She does look pretty cool, all shooting people in slow motion. The slow motion, incidentally, is a lot slower than most slow-motion action sequences. You have plenty of time to watch her turn around and guess what she's going to do and watch her do it.

Unfortunately, this isn't just a sleazy Swedish exploitation flick, it's a sleazy Swedish pornographic exploitation flick. When Frigga (that's the heroine's name) is a prostitute, there are a number of extremely explicit, yet completely non-erotic, sex scenes. I don't think it's like I Spit on Your Grave, where Joe Bob Briggs has convinced me that the rape scenes are supposed to be repellent; I think that early-'70s Swedish porn just looked like that. We've come a long way, baby.

Incidentally, the forced-prostitution ring in this movie is incredibly poorly run. They just kidnap Frigga off the street, knock her out with drugged wine, and inject her with heroin. When she comes to, they explain to her that she's now an addict so she might as well do what they tell her. So she tries to escape. They knock her out, inject her again, explain things again, and then send in a client. She attacks him, so they pop out her eye (in a really disturbing scene shot using a stand-in corpse), knock her out, etc. etc. Now, maybe it's me, but wouldn't it make more sense to wait until your new employee has started to experience the withdrawal first-hand? Then there's the issue that they give her time off every week and let her solicit tips from the clients, which means she has plenty of time to go into town and learn karate, shooting, and stunt driving. It's just sloppy, if you ask me.

Anyway, then there's a lot of revenge-taking, including a slow-motion takedown of two cops for no real reason, and a car chase with no justification at all. Oh! And a lot of cars blowing up in spectacular fireballs because they bumped together at 10 mph. It's a sleazy exploitation movie all right, no doubt about that.

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