Breaking Glass // 2010 // 77 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // May 4th, 2012
Beware The Beast.
Having given up her daughter for dead shortly after giving birth, Susan (Kate O'Rourke) is stunned when Tanya (Te Kaea Beri) arrives on her doorstep claiming to be her long lost child. Despite their best efforts to reconcile their troubled pasts, the two women find the more time they spend together the worse things become. Susan's already fragile state of mind is shattered by a series of bizarre and increasingly bloody events, forcing her to question what is and what isn't real, while Tanya's self-destructive behavior becomes more and more disturbing.
Writer-director David Blyth (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) sets his stall out incredibly early with Wound. A mere six minutes into this exploration of sexual abuse, an incest victim is taking revenge on her tormenter by severing his penis with a blunt pair of scissors. To underscore the severity of this event, all the action is captured in visceral close up; even Eli Roth showed enough restraint to ensure such scenes of mutilation were reserved for the finale of Hostel: Part II. But to its credit, the movie refuses to let up, with scenes of rape, incest, and extreme vaginal bleeding (which is lapped up) being the norm. However, to assume Wound is another entry in the torture porn genre would be wildly inaccurate, as this tale defies categorization and contains far too much depth to be ignored.
Kate O'Rourke delivers a remarkable performance as Susan the tortured soul. It's to O'Rourke's credit that, despite all the extreme imagery, the viewer is still able to make any kind of connection with her. Having suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, Susan now lives a life of almost complete solitude. Her limited interactions with others -- mostly through phone calls -- are awkward and betray her loneliness. Te Kaea Beri, who plays Susan's daughter Tanya, gives a similarly committed performance. Beri's role demands a more visceral performance, and the young actress commits herself fully to delivering some of the film's more extreme acts of violence.
While the plot remains virtually non-existent, Blyth presents an uncanny ability to deliver bold nightmarish imagery, and any understanding of these characters must be earned, is impossible to disregard. Though rarely pleasant, Wound is hard to ignore and (in the case of a disturbing birthing scene) full of symbolism. The fact that we are left alone to decipher meaning behind the film may prove off putting for many audience members, while others will pour over it studiously.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer handles the frequent dark scenes well, with a good amount of detail to be found, along with deep black levels. Colors lack vibrancy, but this appears a stylistic decision, as the palette fits the mood of the piece. The picture does veer towards the soft side at times, but nothing so severe that it hampers the visual experience. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix features clean dialogue, with some solid effects work, and minimalist yet effective score adds to the tone of the film.
The extras are solid, if unspectacular. "Circadium Rythms" is a short film from David Blyth dating back to 1976. The music videos "Damn Laser Vampires" and "Knot Time" also serve as good examples of Bltyth's work. Rounding out the set is a selection of trailers and a photo gallery.
Clearly not intended as entertainment, one is left to ask whether they are any richer for having watched Wound; for me the answer is far from clear. I can't help but admire the obvious craft that has been put into the film, and found the mixing of mental illness with the supernatural to be a potent blend at times. Regardless of the more extreme imagery, this is a difficult film to shake, and the fact remains that Wound is an intriguing, yet largely impenetrable experience.
Not for everyone, but definitely not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Breaking Glass
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 77 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Film
* Music Videos
* Photo Gallery