Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who needs a Martyr?

I recently watched the French film Martyrs(2008) and I must admit, I'm not sure if it was originally one movie or two. It starts simply enough, with a young tortured girl, Lucie, escaping her captors and spending 15 years in an orphanage. She goes on to seek revenge against said captors and once she does, her faithful orphanage friend, Anna, comes to her aid, but discovers Lucie is tormented by more than memories of torture. This was the point in the film where the story took a divergent path by rearranging the main characters and weaving a tale of brutal torture. The second half of the film reveals a torturous secret organization, more victims, and torture galore, but honestly feels like a seperate film from the first half. Both halves of the story make for beautifully gratuitous violence and are wholly entertaining, they just feel a little disconnected. The performances of Mylene Jampanoi and Morjana Aloaui as Lucie and Anna, respectively, are honest, vicious, and completely engrossing. Plotholes aside, this was a solid outing for director Pascal Laugier, whose other works I haven't seen, but may now. I found this to be a film with plenty of substance, in need of a little more tone, but well worth my time. Even the juxtaposition from revenge flick to torture porn is pretty interesting, in retrospect. If you're a fan of either genre, I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

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