Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Stand Alone

Last night I watched the film I Stand Alone, a French film boasting "Please note that some scenes in this film are highly graphic and sexual in nature." I'll start off by saying that almost nothing in the film was highly graphic unless I slept through it. What the movie is, however, is intense. It's a story of a man who, after losing his job, slowly starts to spin out of control. He quickly loses his grasp on reality and goes on a theoretical killing spree. That is to say that he talks an awful lot about killing people.

From the moment the movie starts I was certain it was going to be another french shockfest filled with disturbing sex scenes and brutal violence (a la Catherine Breillat). I was grossly mistaken. I have to admit though that my expectations did come slightly from how it was marketed on netflix, but should have known better. There is exactly one brutally violent scene in the film where the main character, simply referred to as "the butcher", knees and punches his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach killing the baby and one disturbing sex scene involving the butcher and his daughter. If that's enough to turn you off to the film then it's probably best that you not watch it anyway.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film though, despite my disappointment in lack of violence. The Butcher's descent into madness is jaw dropping at times and borderline tear jerking at others. If you don't hate the Butcher by the end of the film then you probably have no soul, but at the very least you can sympathize with his madness. I Stand Alone is a dark look at one man's growing isolation in a world he barely wants to be in anymore. A slow spiral from wanting to make a better life for himself to wanting to kill everyone he sees, including himself. Once the Butcher pops back into reality at the end of the film you discover that maybe he had a better plan in his fantasy world.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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