2008 / d. Pascal Laugier
Not since my first viewing of Fred Vogel’s AUGUST UNDERGROUND had I seen a movie that so strongly elicited the response: this is fucked up. After a slow and deceptively tame exposition, a brutally sadistic development plays out, featuring such explicit and unrelenting violence it leaves the viewer feeling completely overwhelmed. In fact, if the movie has a fault it would be in its pacing: by the time we reach the shocking climax we’ve already become desensitized from the sheer violence-overkill, which softens the impact of the conclusory scenes. Regardless, it’s a dark and effective film — aggressive in its execution and memorable in its fearless showcase of tortuous special effects. But beneath the gory visceral surface lies a deep commentary, raising fundamental (and profoundly horrifying) questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, and the existence of life after death. Be forewarned: it is impossible to walk away from MARTYS untouched; its stark, nihilistic imagery will forever be burned into your mind.