Friday, 13 February 2015

Julia

"Julia" (2014, Matthew A. Brown, Farraj Factory, Kinetic Arts, Tycor International Film Company) is an artsy rape revenge film.

Julia (Ashley C. Williams) is a quiet, mousey nurse who is drugged and gang raped by some monstrous men. Sure, there's a guy who wasn't too into it, but he's still detestable for being there, and he's eventually coerced into taking part, so.... Yeah...

They leave her for dead but she manages to get home and survive. Seeking a way to cope with the horrific ordeal, Julia comes across an unusual therapist who tells her to follow his teachings to the letter and she will have her revenge. She also becomes entwined with one of the therapist's many tough female vigilantes (ex-patients, I assume), a lesbian woman called Sadie (Tahyna Tozzi). Unfortunately, Julia takes matters into her own hands, exacting terrible revenge on her tormentors without the help of her therapist, resultantly pissing him off.

This film is very stylised. It's like an alternate reality where all men are mysogynistic rapists and all women are emotionless and stabby. The plot takes a while to get going and we are shown the full story in flashbacks, which left me confused for a while until more was revealed. The colours are very strange and muted and the lighting is very red and green. Stylised is fine, but when it's aesthetics over entertainment I begin to lose interest.

I get that Julia is meant to be caught in an emotional vortex after what was done to her, but the complete lack of emotion in, not just her but all the characters, made it somewhat difficult for me to empathise with anyone and thus care too much about them.

I'm not sure what message this movie was trying to purvey. At first I thought it was going to be about female empowerment, but even when Julia becomes a badass in leather pants, cutting dicks off and gouging eyeballs here, there and everywhere, she's still not a very empowered character. So, I'm stumped as to whether there is a message to be honest.

I'm also not clear on the therapist's rules. He seems to be essentially telling her to honeypot entrap men in random bars and then kill them for finding her attractive, rather than actually to get back at the idiots who hurt her? What is his agenda? I just don't get it.

Essentially, it's a visually pretty film and has some commendable gore. The rape scenes are very, very difficult to watch (but then, what rape scene isn't?) and some of the revenge is pretty squirmy too. However, the characters are unlikable, blank and uninteresting and the long artsy pauses where we watch Julia stand on an escalator and such may be striking, but essentially lose their shine after a second and I found myself thinking about making a cup of tea whilst she finished ascending this apparently endless staircase...

I just don't get what all the fuss is about, really.


[Image: Tycor International Film company, et al]
 
Hani