Chained [2012]

28 sep. 2014


Septiembre 28, 2014

El hecho que el director de Chained sea mujer es una de las tantas sorpresas que esta película ofrece. De vez en cuando aparece un filme con suficiente carga emocional para que la audiencia se formule preguntas y despierte su conciencia, o por lo menos intente ampliarla. 

Chained es una película de horror en el más extenso sentido de la palabra. La historia de un perturbado taxista se desgrana durante casi 100 minutos y viaja desde la infancia de este callado hombre, Bob, hasta los acontecimientos actuales. 

Bob es un asesino serial de mujeres indefensas, ya sean éstas amas de casa, prostitutas o aventuras de una sola noche. La desventura de cada una de ellas comienza desde el instante que entran a su morada, oscura y llena de secretos como su mente y alma. Pero en su camino encuentra un involuntario cómplice y alumno personificado en un niño.

Tal parece que la sociedad moderna, el mundo actual y el sistema putrefacto han encontrado un blanco perfecto para descargar su furia, maldad e inmoralidad: los niños y niñas indefensos. La directora Jennifer Lynch genialmente juega con la mente del espectador y ofrece una metáfora perfecta sobre la sociedad quebrada en la que vivimos. De esta forma, Tim, un pequeño de nueve años, se convierte en la compañía, esclavo y mascota de Bob luego que éste asesina a sangre fría a su madre (Julia Ormond). De la noche a la mañana el mundo que Tim conocía, el de cualquier jovencito de esa edad, se transforma en una pesadilla claustrofóbica.

El nuevo nombre de Tim ahora es Rabbit (de hecho este fue el título original de la película). Y como conejo huyendo del cazador, el joven crece tratando de escapar de la vida de tortura que le es heredada: encadenado a una simple mesa, observa en silencio cómo Bob martiriza y abusa de diversas mujeres antes de matarlas en formas bastante violentas, tal como sucedió con su madre. 

La cinematografía de Chained (sombría y con una mezcla de tonos verdes y sepia) atrapa los sentidos del cinéfilo y lo adentra en el universo de miseria, tristeza y terror que Lynch describe magistralmente. Vincent D’Onofrio (Bob) se desdobla completamente y se entrega en cuerpo y alma para ofrecer nuevamente una actuación impecable, la cual le valió el premio al Mejor Actor en el prestigiado Festival de Sitges (España). 

Por su parte, el novel actor Eamon Farren logra un trabajo convincente y puro y refleja en su dolor todo lo que el espectador calla, pero no se atreve a dejar ir del todo: la amargura al leer las noticias del día a día y ver que un niño de cuatro años fue asesinado a golpes por sus propios tíos por no saber contar del 1 al 10. La tristeza al presenciar la impunidad de las autoridades ante los abusos sexuales de los sacerdotes de la Iglesia Católica, o simple y sencillamente el drama que viven millones de mujeres en todo el planeta, las cuales son condenadas a muerte por el simple hecho de serlo (Ciudad Juárez, México, es un perfecto ejemplo de ello).

Rabbit encarna todo ese padecimiento, locura e impotencia. Ante sus ojos, el único mundo que conoce, el de la maldad, transgresión y anárquica violencia, transcurre lentamente como una cruel película de terror sin fin. Su cadena se convierte en un cordón umbilical que lo une irremediablemente a Bob, quien eventualmente le transmite y enseña sus atroces lecciones. Para sobrevivir, el joven tendrá que matar también.

Las secuencias de brutalidad contra las mujeres son especialmente grotescas y perturbadoras. Jennifer Lynch expresó que su deseo era abrir un diálogo honesto acerca de la violencia doméstica y abuso en general. La audiencia más perspicaz y aguda definitivamente captó esta intención con simplemente preguntarse el porqué de tanta fealdad en pantalla. Esta interrogante lleva a abrir la mente y finalmente a comprender el subtexto de la historia a la perfección.

El personaje de Rabbit, a pesar del calvario vivido, se niega a ser un homicida como su autoimpuesto tutor, pero finge para conservar su propia vida. La escena en la cual una joven de 18 años suplica y lucha psicológicamente con todas sus fuerzas para escapar de su propia muerte, altera y quita el sueño. Lynch logra su cometido y Chained se aparta del resto de las tontas películas de asesinos con arma filosa en mano para ofrecer un retrato crudo y mordaz de la doble moral y los más oscuros secretos que la sociedad moderna vive y guarda. 

28 sep. 2014

Up [2009]

13 sep. 2014

"Standing here with my arm around you, life's moved on
And all its borderlines are being redrawn
The winter has come the roads are white
Everyone's home late tonight may we stay or will it depend
As old friends in the end still old friends".

-'Old Friends' by Everything But the Girl-

The huge commercial success of Up (2009) shouldn’t surprise anyone. The evolution of animated cinema made possible a masterpiece like this, one that has everything it takes to move the audience, despite their age, gender or nationality. 

The 3D computer-animated Pixar film tells the story of Carl and Ellie, a couple of kids with a mutual taste for adventure, exploring and camping. Actually, they both idolize a very famous explorer (Charles F. Muntz).  

Ellie is a very noisy and honest girl whereas Carl is a quiet and kind of shy young man. They eventually get married and their life together is full of happiness and joy, even though they postpone several times their dream trip to South America.

However, Ellie’s inability to have children overshadows their personal paradise for a while. Fortunately, love conquers everything and they stay together until the day she passes away. 

Before she leaves this world, Ellie hands Carl a scrapbook  with a subtle suggestion written on the last page: Thanks for the adventure; now go and have a new one!

Now Carl is over 80 years-old and has to face the world alone. Instead of crying and regretting he chooses to go on, proving that you are never too old to start a new day. Whenever he feels lonely or insecure, the adorable old man -whom clearly resembles Spencer Tracy circa late 60’s- calls his wife’s name, as she’s still very much alive in his heart and mind. 

A court orders him to leave his house to spend their final days in a retirement home, but his plans are completely different (not that fast, please!). After meeting an eager boy scout named Russell, he decides to take on an adventure: in a surrealistic and fantastic way, he turns his house into an airship using hundreds of helium balloons. He later finds out that Russell sneaked into the house. At first, Carl is not happy at all with this new guest.

After the house lands in the fictional Paradise Falls, they together live the most extraordinary experiences and meet a couple of new friends: a large prehistoric female bird (Kevin) and a speaking dog (Dug). Finally, Carl fulfills the promise he made to Elli, as he's living his own adventure.

13 sep. 2014

Chained [2012]

1 sep. 2014

September 1, 2014

When I first watched Chained I was knocking my head every thirty seconds. It was a similar reaction to the extremely gruesome, yet very interesting movie A Serbian Film. However, I knew this was not another silly slasher film a-la Scream or something like that. There was a strong artistic reason for all this brutality and ugliness, and that is exactly what a great director or actor expects from the audience, critics and writers: you have to go beneath the surface and ask yourself a lot of questions. Do not settle for superficial meanings or lectures.

Living in a country where more than two-thousand women (most of them humble maquiladora workers) have been killed in Ciudad Juarez since 1993 with no justice at all for their families, made even more painful this cinematic experience. Everything related to brutality against children or helpless women (or any human being for instance) disturbs me in ways I cannot even describe. And it is very significant that this is the first Horror movie reviewed here.

I always say as a joke that The Exorcist (my favorite Horror flick of all time and what I consider one of the greatest movies ever made) is like a day in the park for me, but films such as Chained really play with my mind, maybe more than I’d like to admit.        

The story is about a cab driver named Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) who deliberately abducts and tortures women to death, whether they are prostitutes, loving wives and mothers or just regular gals searching for adventure.  One of those unfortunate women played by Julia Ormond has a nine-year old kid (Tim). After picking them up, Bob takes them home and kills Sarah (Tim’s mother). The kid became his personal slave, one that can be abused both physical and emotionally. 

Bob renames the young boy as Rabbit and this is when the ordeal begins. He teaches him all the things he knows based on his own miserable personal experience. Eventually, they develop a sort of a father-son relationship in which love is replaced by fear, judgment and depravity. Bob himself was extremely abused by his father as a child and teenager, and was even forced to have sex with his own mother. So this is where the entire trauma comes from: the lonely, never-smiling cab driver still seeks revenge and tries to hurt both men and women. 

There is no secret at all that Vincent D’Onofrio is a giant of acting, so this role is just another way to prove that he is capable of doing anything on screen. Director Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena, Surveillance) on the other hand pushed the envelope once again and created more controversy along the way (at first the MPAA wanted to give the film an NC-17 rating). Well, let’s not forget that critics are unfortunately still very harsh on female directors. 



As a Horror movie, Chained does its job very well and frightens the audience since the very beginning. But the film is a lot deeper than what you see on screen: it’s a brilliant metaphor about modern society and the establishment in a world where child abuse and violence against women is not only implicitly allowed, but it is also supported by those who are supposed to protect and love people. In this context, “Bob” is not different at all from all those pedophiles disguised as “religious leaders” or the government chiefs bombing and killing innocent kids all around the world.
 
This is where the director achieves greatness: Lynch said in an interview that she wanted to open a dialogue about child abuse, but her work goes far beyond that and breaks the taboo: let’s talk about rape, incest and brutality at home. To hell with all those fancy words that shrinks love to use! Let’s reveal the monster because this is the only way he can be destroyed. Let’s face our own pain, fear and darkness: this is the best way to walk into the light again.

Finally, Rabbit attacks a girl in one of the most disturbing sequences of the movie (in fact he makes Bob believe that she was killed), and proves that each 'lesson' was  perfectly learned. Far away from feeling any satisfaction, he’s in the darkest place ever. 

The plot twist at the end and the subsequent events give the impression that this full-length feature film should've been longer. However, there’s still room for dialogue about being unloved and recovering the power to send to hell those who have rejected you. So, Tim faces his destiny and he gets strong enough to defeat the monsters that haunted him for years.  Of course, you need to watch the movie to find out what exactly happens.

Chained is dark, deep and mesmerizing. Newcomer Eamon Farren is a promising actor and the score and cinematography are flawless.

The movie can also make us think about something really important: are we still chained to our own miserable table without even noticing? Are we still under the influence of our own demons? How long will it take until we break the cycle? That is a choice that we make every single day.
 


There is a sad, tragic, horrible and beautiful scene (yes, all at once) in which Tim approaches Bob as he's sleeping on the couch. He gets very close to Bob’s face and then opens his mouth making an almost demonic expression, as if he wanted to eat him alive. In that moment their two deeply hurt inner children become one and all their pain breaks the silence of the room. 

Maybe it is time to hug our inner kid too. Maybe he or she is whispering us every single day something like: Don’t be afraid to face your own darkness, no matter how much you have suffered. You can still be free. 

Now, it is time to pay attention.

Chained, 2012
USA 
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Written by Damian O'Donnell
Produced by Rhonda Baker, David Buelow, Lee Nelson
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Starring: Vincent D'Onofrio, Julia Ormond, Eamond Farren, Jake Weber, Conor Leslie, Evan Bird, Gina Philips
Music by Climax Golden Twins
Cinematography: Shane Daly




 

1 sep. 2014