Month: May 2016
A gymnopedic rereading of Michael Haneke for younger demographics, Goodnight Mommy could feature as Exhibit A to support the charge that if Jewish humour is German humour with the addition of humour, Austrian humour is German humour with added psychosis. Exhibit B too, and then some.
The pretext of this rather complacent display of juvenile sadism is the following: Mommy is a TV personality whose job is to look pretty so she just had a face lift and her face is completely bandaged; she has twin boys, one being a pussy and the other a bully (an iron role in such context); the bully is persuaded that the woman who came back from surgery is not their mother and he’s determined to prove his point. Obviously not using “the talking cure” so popular in Austria at the turn of last century, but by torturing her. A series of unpleasant events ensues, which one can chose to be disgusted by or to laugh at. Let’s take the scenic road, should we?
The original title translates to ” I See I See”, the repetition expressing both the primal importance of vision over other senses and the twins’ duality. It also carries feelings of impatience and doubt. It is better than the English one, which together with the red-on-black poster, makes this particular film a wolf dressed in B-movie sheep clothing. It pretends to much more than that, even so a predictable twist ending firmly snaps the extended rubber band back to pulp territory.
One twin pushes the other in a hole with laughter of excitement and pleasure: boys will be boys. He’s punished by Mommy, wearing a post-it on her forehead during a game of “Who am I?”. The post-it reads “Mommy”. Can you feel the disconnection from identity yet? Would the blurred full portrait of her in the hallway of her sterile architect house help?
Of course the twins raise cockroaches in a vivarium, for gross factor as much as to express the rampant things laying just below the surface. Of course the wallpaper in their room has an obsessive ant motive. Of course they kill insects by subjecting them to a magnifying glass. Staples of child perversity alternate with carefully staged symbolic scenes, one of which includes the exploration of a womb-like ossuary to rescue an ugly pussy.
At the thirty minute mark a huge cockroach is inserted into Mommy’s mouth and the pussy dies (no intrigue connection, but of course there is one of the metaphoric sort). The twins spy on Mommy through a baby mike hidden in her room and they decided to explore their inner Damien Hirst with her as their subject. Things get ugly from there.
The twins are locked in their room (where God prominently figures on one wall) and are not allowed bathroom breaks so they pee in a jar not to soil the oppressingly clean space they inhabit. They eventually get out and escape for a while in the realm of magic realism of a railroad track, a village deserted but for a drunk accordion player and a cloud in shape of a killer whale, announcing ocean rain and violence.
A priest brings back the twins to the house (Kinder, Kirche, Kuche, anyone?), allowing them to perform various acts of barbarity on Mommy. They successfully deflect suspicion from Red Cross visitors (Austrian rednecks thinking that Vienna is the mother of all sins) and the local police, but seem quite unsure of what to do with Mommy. Kids, before super-gluing your mother’s mouth shut while she’s tied up in her bed, better think you will have to feed her next, because cutting her lips with scissors will oblige you to sew the whole thing back after she had her frozen pizza…
One doubts that torture porn can convey much meaning, even when performed on family members. Moving at the speed of the glacier is it at its core, Goodnight Mommy is depending on how you decide to look at it. It’s either an art installation bent on allegory and comically heavy-handed symbolism, or a reptilian piece of trash aiming at entomology and achieving the equivalent of watching a cockroach drown in a pee jar.
The reason why this episode is titled so is beyond one, but second death it is, well, let’s go for it. Starting with an exorcism in Chile and ending in The Damien Thorn Museum of Red Tricycle, it is absolutely as ludicrous as the pilot, which make it quite en endearing show. So what can be said about it without spoiling too much of this absurd endeavour? Apart that from reason unknown, they have decided to drop the silent “e” in the original Thorne name?
First a reasurance: Kelly is definitely dead and this is her funeral. Damien is not thrilled at the prospect of attending, which allow us to pry into the Beast’s private life: he does not shave nor shower during three days, compulsively checking the Damascus pictures. That’s his body, his life and his right; what’s more surprising is that his friend Amani keep tabs on his hygiene and threatened to shower with him if he keeps on dragging his feet and, he says, “that won’t be pretty”. Well, we the audience should be the judge of that.
During the service, Simone goes rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb about her sister and Damien, who had no qualms yelling at the Christ on the Cross last week, get sick in the proximity of the Almighty. Lurking under his hood, a goon has been appointed to kill him with the last remaining Megiddo dagger, which a priest gave him just before dying, of stupidity one presumes, since his last words are that Damien is worse than Hitler. Get a grip, Church.
Some theological polemic ensues, with Damien offending Simone’s faith. It’s worth to be noted that she wears a short tight, fully zipped-up in the back dress for her sister’s funeral. He leaves and go take pictures of homeless people in near darkness. The killer attempts to stab him, but a rottweiler appears out of nowhere and he fails. These dogs bugs one. Are they following the Beast everywhere? Wouldn’t a pack of hostile rottweilers be quite conspicuous in Damascus?
Damien still does not get it. Could the Devil’s son be a retard? Fortunately Ann Ruthledge is there to brief him about his origin – not the jackal copulation, but the fact that he was born in Roma and adopted by the US Ambassador. Ann’s interior designer had a blast, going full demonic curio cabinet, which does not seem like the epitome of the “discretion” she was professing last week. She even has another Megiddo dagger in a box. Five more to go.
Of course there is a secret passage leading to a shrine to Damien’s life including, yes, the tricycle he used to kill his mother in the original movie. The effect of this bright red vehicle on a lit pedestal is rather awkward and is worth your viewing by itself.
Fun facts of the week: there is one very scared cardinal in the Vatican and he is exfiltrating the Chilean exorcist to fight the Beast. Amen to that.
We @modernmonsters are not partial to binge drinking unless it is done with a reason. And what better reason could be but celebrating your mother’s contribution to your own DNA? In the context of this week’s festivity, please consider our first drinking game (available on YouTube), the Japanese movie titled Parasite Eve, to which one was first attracted because its Joe Hisaishi score. It is adapted from a game; consider yourself warned.
Take a shot of your poison of choice every time someone says “mitochondria”. Most of you will be in a Glasgow coma by the 15′ mark. For the hardened warriors who will remain conscious afterwards, no worry, it keeps coming back. We guarantee total annihilation by the finale.
Oh, the movie? Who cares? It’s all about mitochondria. Take a shot.
One doesn’t expect much good when Shakespeare is quoted in such a context, especially about wearing two faces. Here comes this kind of episode in which a lazy writing crew has to cram everything they didn’t address (or so the show runner thinks reaching the first third of the season). This is a bitch to review, considering a lot happens but nothing. Anyway, let’s stick to basics:
The Graysons are the most perfect couple in The Hamptons, according to the Life and Leisure section chief editor, a nosy bitch. Also, there is an intimate anniversary diner, far from Victoria’s “legendary soirées”. Taylor is invited and will brings Ashley as a date, but not. Charlotte (one finally figured what’s her name) will bring Declan. That’s gauche.
As usual the pre-title sequence establishes the agenda: some minor threat to Terminily’s agenda, a social function allowing her and Queen Victoria to lock horns and a raincheck on her relationships with Daniel (the easiest fooled guy in the room), Jack (off) and Nolan (outed in this episode). So what do we get as plot thickening?
Nolan now has a bodyguard, who “also does panic rooms”, to which Terminily answers “I don’t panic”. Good one. Declan fishes out of water as it is his mission statement. Nolan finds out Taylor was a gay hustler and then they fuck (flowchart update needed!), but it’s on tape. Goon Frank tracks the real Emily Thorne, who is an exotic dancer. Of course, not an accountant. He gives a call to Queen Vic before she offs him, because because, and we have two potential villains terminated, one literally and the other gossipically. But there is a cute Mother/son scene which comes handy for this week’s topic.
Daniel and Terminily are in luv. Victoria’s secret (sorry, one can help it) true love was Emily/Amanda’s father, but she framed him all the same. Queen Bitch is fighting backwards, not forward. She’s in deep shit.
Fun fact of the week: the writing crew was so helpless they already woke up Lydia, whose coma was apparently a mild faint. One means, come on.