Sunday, April 7, 2013

Martyrs


I rarely blog about older releases these days.  It was always my intention to do so, but I just don't have the time.  But I just found myself needing to do so for this French horror film from 2008.  I caught it last week on DVD (thanks to fellow film buff Tim McGlynn, after I turned him on to director Pascal Laugier's exceptional follow up film 'The Tall Man') and, like 'The Tall Man', I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.  In some ways it's the exact type of film I love and continuously search for, constantly changing and playing with you so that every time you think you know what it's about, you don't.  Is it a monster film?  Is it a revenge film?  All I'll say is to expect the unexpected.  Of course, it also includes what hate most and find most repelling in films: brutal torture.  (Those that take issue with the relatively brief and necessary torture scenes in 'Zero Dark Thirty' should be sure to steer clear of this film.)  I had more trouble getting through this film than any I can remember.  But was it just me?  Apparently not, because afterwards I Googled it and the overwhelming consensus is that it's extremely upsetting and one of the hardest films to watch.  So much so, that there is an introduction by the director on the DVD where he literally apologizes for what you're about to see.  After it was over, I sat on my couch in silence for quite some time, contemplating what I had just seen, and feeling the overwhelming urge to cry.  Should this film have been made and should I be promoting it?  I'm really not sure.  I fear it gives disturbed people bad ideas.  But I can't deny that it's the most powerful film I've seen in quite some time.  See it if you have the stomach for it.  (And you should be sure to see 'The Tall Man' which is much less disturbing but equally thought provoking and impressive.)  And if you do decide to check out 'Martyrs' please don't blame me if it's too intense for you.

Grade: A

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