True Love Ways (2014) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

True Love Ways (2014)

Published

on

True Love Ways

true-love-ways-posterStarring Anna Hausburg, David C. Bunners, Kai Michael Müller

Directed by Mathieu Seiler


In my line of work, rare is the occasion that I get to go into a movie with little to no prior knowledge of what I’m letting myself in for. One exception was at this year’s Molins de Rei Horror Film Festival when Swiss-born director Mathieu Seiler’s staunchly avant-garde rape/revenge thriller, True Love Ways, threw me for a loop.

Shot in minimalistic, clinical black and white and sharing much in common with Géla Babluani’s more than impressive 13 Tzameti (2005), True Love Ways echoes the camera stylo tendencies of the swinging ‘60s with aural and visual motifs harking back to early Polanski or Jarmusch. Substituting 13 Tzameti’s innocent Sébastien for the seemingly angelic Séverine (Hausburg), Seiler spikes his stylistic story with a rape/revenge theme with a dime a dozen couple inadvertently getting tangled up in a clandestine world of perverted and macabre aristo games headed up by the swanky Chef (Bunners).

Following in Jarmusch’s footsteps – focusing heavily on the mental make-up of the protagonists – initially everything simmers deceptively slowly as the narrative concentrates on a crumbling relationship, expounding how Séverine is more fascinated with a recurring dream than the banalities of her dullsville life. Seiler couldn’t get more cynical about relationships even if he tried, something which is portrayed to perfection in a bickering match early on in the film that leaves lovelorn Tom (Müller) clutching at straws to win his way back into Séverine’s good books. It might all feel very insignificant (and particularly cheesy at times), but it isn’t long before the romantic preamble penny drops once things turn pear-shaped.

Hausburg is absolutely stunning as Séverine, and one particularly spun-out take with her simply sitting on a park bench taking in her surroundings really showcases her acting abilities. All kinds of benign (yet strangely bizarre) things go on around her, and you can’t help but keep wondering the significance of all the cryptic enigmas. This is essentially all down to Hausburg’s handiwork as her facial expressions and eye-play truly taunt the audience and portray not only her emotional landscape but the fact that something sinister is clearly afoot. Müller also keeps up to pace nicely as the ill-fated Tom, and you really can’t blame him for accepting an offer from a complete stranger to help him win Séverine back – it’s just a real stroke of bad luck that said stranger happens to be Chef, the mastermind behind an upper crust snuff movie ring. Chef is played with absolute relish by Bunners, who is one slimy, conniving bugger and supplies most, if not all, of the fear; and his oozing evilness is perfectly mismatched against Hausburg and Müller’s performances.

As the film unravels, all too familiar rape/revenge scenarios certainly do horn in, but this is where True Love Ways really sets alight as Séverine is forced to fight for her life in a situation that is, creepily, just as forebodingly feasible outside of movie theatres. Hausburg really comes into her own here, and her initial innocent visage perfectly accentuates her loss of innocence as she is forced to take whatever means necessary to deal with this band of bigwigs in the backwoods. As tense as it all gets, I do have one major complaint, and that is that Séverine’s pursuers were a tad too butter-fingered and she manages to slip out of their grasp a little too coolly for my liking on certain occasions, despite being cornered and pretty heavily outnumbered.

That flaw aside, staying true to the film’s aesthetic, Seiler wisely refrains from resorting to any particularly gratuitous violence, preferring to let Oliver Geissler’s shooting style thicken the blood and inject brutality into violent set pieces rather than revealing all the grisly details. And then the culminating surprise comes when, despite Seiler giving priority to style over substance, True Love Ways smacks the audience with a cunning curveball that’s as unpredictable as it is perfectly plausible and draws everything to a satisfying conclusion.

Here we have a sterling example of a filmmaker forging as much as possible out of a shoestring budget. Meticulously constructed and with ruthless attention to the smallest of details, True Love Ways is a taut tale of love, catastrophic coincidences, and the extremes even the most innocent of people are capable of reaching in the name of love and survival. This picaresque thriller will undoubtedly be lapped up by art house audiences the world around, but given Seiler’s resolutely unique approach to the rape/revenge sub-genre, his impressive slice of New Wave noir will also more than cater to more traditional camps willing to give it a spin.

  • Film
Sending
User Rating 3.29 (14 votes)
Continue Reading
Comments

Reviews

Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

Published

on

Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film
2.0

Summary

Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

Published

on

Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

Sending
User Rating 5 (2 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

Published

on

Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law


I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

  • Film
3.5

Summary

The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC