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quietearth [Celluloid 08.26.09] Ireland (Republic of) movie review thriller

Year: 2009
Directors: Brendan Muldowney
Writers: Brendan Muldowney
IMDB: link
Trailer: N/A
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 6.9 out of 10

Savage is an in depth, quiescent character study of an effeminate, male victim after a brutal attack which leaves him questioning his own manhood. Belying the true nature of the film is it's metallic blue sheen, implying the cold, tasteless world, and polished production which loudly declare something the film is not: a revenge flick. While nothing new for it's genre, it does deliver good pacing thanks to the editing, and in the end it does it's job effectively and satisfies in it's seemingly brush one hour and 20 minutes.

Our main character, Paul, is an unlikeable chap. His job makes him a borderline scumbag, and as a result, I was actually looking forward to him getting his inevitable beating. After little about his job and life we get right into the goods, an assault in an alley so "savage" that he wakes up in the hospital four days later. The nurse rubs his head and tells him everything will be "ok", but at this point, neither he nor the audience know how ok it will NOT be. It's at the beating that we switch to empathizing with our character, the filmmakers possibly pointing out that abuse towards anyone, even those you hate (as I didn't care about our protagonist at first), is unacceptable.

The film is then split into three chapters: Fear, Anger, and Revenge. But like I said, the true nature of the film is deceptive, and revenge is not the ultimate point. What we do see is the psychological recourse of a man attempting to grow a pair where none existed before. At first, he is frightened and scared, but as the silent nature of our character and study of him proceed, we see there are many avenues of "recuperation". Three quarters of the way through I was thinking "great beginning, but this is going to turn into a disaster". Luckily, I was surprised with the conclusion which fits perfectly with the true nature of the film.

Using filters and experienced camera techniques, the cinematography was well done and polished, but nothing original. The music was appropriate, and set the mood perfectly. Displacing the need for words, it paralleled the emotional nature of Paul, pointing out things for those who wouldn't otherwise understand. The acting by star Darren Healy (Paul) was spot on, but his love interest Nora-Jane Noone (Michelle), while angelically beautiful, lacked emotional depth, and unfortunately this side story was given only perfunctory attention. The focus was Paul and his transformation.

In the end, I can only guess the filmmakers meant to point out society's running attempt to neuter masculinity, the idea that violence and standing up for yourself are wrong. To me, this idea is so irrational that it only lent credence to our protagonist as he moves along the stages of his transfiguration (yes, tha word is used appropriately). But that's only my guess, there's a few other points that could be made.

Overall, this is a good little film which showcases a promising career ahead for Muldowney, and the only major complaint I would have is that I would of liked a more Ballardian (read: severely aberrant) character study, considering the way the film went. When you see the DVD in your local shop, give it a rent. It's definitely worth a watch.

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Kev (11 years ago) Reply

Don't particularly agree with the review but obviously it's your take on it. One quick point though, there were four chapters in the film, you left out 'Control'

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