The Woman

Seeing as how Lucky McKee's The Woman is the latest shocker to cloy credulous, unsuspecting film festival attendees, I felt obligated to review it. I'm always curious to find out if these films are as sadistic as fire-eating dissidents claim they are. Vocal curmudgeons have upbraided those responsible for what they deem as baseless misogyny, even going so far as to suggest that McKee should be detained and/or excommunicated. On what grounds? Well, The Woman depicts violence in a disturbing way. The nerve! Unlike A Serbian Film or The Human Centipede, this flick could have been made in the early 70's. In fact, if it was shot on 16mm back in the day (and subsequently re-discovered during the VHS boom of the 80's), I have a feeling that it would be hailed as a classic.

But it's 2012. This isn't a surefire classic. To a certain extent, I liked The Woman. I'll get to the positive comments later, but the lowlights are resonating with me at the moment. This is scummy exploitation at its ballsiest. In consequence, I wasn't fond of the hygienic, laundered production values. Everything is too clean. A more deleterious drawback is the shortage of empathetic characters. I couldn't relate to any of the protagonists. My brain acknowledged the swell acting and Lucky's proficient handiwork (the shot composition is to die for), but where does that leave my heart? I wasn't invested in the proceedings that were unfurling before my vitric eyes. Woah, those two sentences were cheesy as fuck. I'll keep 'em!

On the technical side of things, The Woman has all of its ducks in a row. Lighting, set design, sound mixing (yeah, sound mixing), cinematography...this is a lustrous parcel of textbook filmmaking. That shouldn't surprise you. After all, we're dealing with the same guy who crashed onto the scene with 2002's May. Lucky's aciculate acumen wouldn't mean much without a capable cast, but thankfully, our central players are up to snuff. Pollyanna McIntosh's performance as a savage, sullied cave dweller is mind-boggling. In a perfect world, she would have nabbed an Oscar for this role. I'm dead serious. Watch the making-of featurette and take note of the transformation she undergoes to nail her part. I'm not just referring to her "jungle captive" garb either.

Angela Bettis and Sean Bridgers are appropriately unhinged as a couple on the precipice of insanity. Obviously, I haven't bothered with a synopsis. That's because you don't need to know anything about The Woman prior to hitting "play." Truth be told, I was too familiar with the plot devices going in. Did that affect my opinion of the film? Who knows? Overall, I feel comfortable in giving The Crazy Bitch Who Was Raised by Wolves my stamp of approval, albeit a provisory recommendation. I'm somewhere in the middle. I do think that it's good enough to be evaluated via Netflix, so by all means, give it a go. Robert Z'Dar says, "Only one rape scene? Blasphemy!"

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