Every year in Australia thirty thousand people are reported missing, 90% of which are found alive and well within a year; the remainder are never seen again.
With this little tidbit (which, I'm sorry, I haven't quoted verbatim) begins the tale of Wolf Creek, an Australian film purported to be based on 'actual events' that took place in the outback. 'Actual events' seems to be a very elastic term in this day and age and they've certainly stretched that term to the utmost for this film - the only relationship it seems to have with reality is that several wackos have killed multiple people in Australia's remote spaces and this film focuses on a wacko hell-bent on killing people out in Australia's remote spaces; the manner of the murders, the places, and the people have no bearing on real life.
But, it wasn't WC's failure to live up to its reality based claims that irked me. I'd heard, prior to going into this film, that it was going to be violent. This I'd heard from friends and movie reviewers alike, as I've heard about many films in the past. I'd even heard tales of people leaving the theatre en-masse. I'm pretty hard to rattle when it comes to cinema and I was sure that I'd sit through this one with the same calm, unflinching stoicism that I sat through the psycho-surreal vista of A clockwork orange, Irreversible or the soul chilling horror that was Love actually (I still can't quite scrub the taint of having seen that film from my skin). I was wrong. By the mid point of this film I was blowing like a racehorse on the final straight; wriggling and squirming like a collectors insect on the end of a pin. It was too much for me: perhaps testament to the big weekend I'd had prior to watching it.
Yep, it was a damn violent film. Oh, was it violent. Normally I can distance myself from carnage on the big screen. If things get really hairy I'll picture a microphone boom or a camera stand just outside of the frame - that'll normally bring me back to reality. There was no escape from the violent realism of WC. At some stages I felt like I was inside the projected image. Part of the action. It is testament to quality film making if the director is able to achieve such a dramatic response from his audience. If a director makes your underarms sweat and your head itch, then they are doing something right.
Regardless, this was not a good film.
If the Harlem Globe trotters (insert a favored sporting team of your choice here) came to your town tomorrow, sweatbands at the ready, shuffling from side to side, ready, ready to pull some mind boggling moves with the old bball it would be disappointing if they weren't provided a basketball court . They'd stand there with their cool retro attire, their jive and their long limbs and they'd shrug their graceful shoulders in dismay. A few tumbleweeds would blow by. The neighborhood kids would cry. Now a bunch of great actors finding themselves in a movie with no real storyline is a situation not dissimilar to that of our globe trotting friends. If I'm going to see a movie with that much gore I want there to be a decent sub-plot. I want to walk away feeling enlightened, if only in some small way.
[this is a work in progress, to be continued tomorrow]