Friday, December 12, 2014

We Are the Night

This is mostly just a bog standard "vampirism as unbridled hedonism" movie. It's marginally interesting in that it links social class with the ability and desire to be a pleasure seeking junkie but it never really explores that idea, or any idea, productively because it's too busy laying track for its bog standard "corrupted innocence" plot line.

It's never subtle either. When Lena (Karoline Herfurth, Passionand Errors of the Human Body) undergoes her transformation it physically strips away her class indicators (haircut and tattoos) and when she first tastes blood she orgasms. There's a marginally more clever scene in which the vampires' voracious capitalism is offhandedly underlined by a game in which the person who buys the least must pay for everyone else but mostly it's just very obvious in a rather dumb - if fitfully amusing - way.*

The shallow way it treats its supposed themes occasionally pushes it past simply being dumb and into potentially offensive territory. During Lena's initiation Louise explains that vampires are an all female society as all male vampires were killed off in order to preserve female autonomy. This idea is never directly explored and as a result it simply becomes another aspect of their hedonistic behaviour. Sure, the film seems to imply, it might be nice for women to be free and not dependant on men but it's really an unsustainable excess just like all the rest.

I'm not sure that the film's writers or director intended this interpretation (although the way in which the women's ultimately unfulfilling interactions are positioned against Lena's embryonic heterosexual romance suggests they might've) because despite its overwhelming bluntness it can be somewhat muddleheaded. Purportedly three endings were shot: one in which Lena decides to watch her crush die rather than turn him, one in which she turns him and the actual, trendily ambiguous ending. The choice of the third ending suggests that the director has no strong feelings about what his movie is about which is amusing given how on the nose so much of it is.

*Someone is killed by a page from For Whom the Bell Tolls. The audience knows which book it is because there's a quick close up of the book title right before it happens.

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