GIRLS AGAINST BOYS (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
After one of them is sexually assaulted, two women take justice into their own hands. A lot.
Is it good movie?
It's safe to say that Shae doesn't always make great decisions. After getting dumped by her older, married boyfriend, she goes out on the town with her co-worker and new friend, Lu, a fiery redhead out to make Shae forget her troubles. After a debaucherous night of drinking and dirty dancing, the two end up back at an apartment with three men whose names they don't quite remember. One of the guys, Simon, helps Shae get home, and rapes her right outside her door when she refuses to let him inside. After getting snubbed by the cops, the two girls dole out vigilante justice. And how.
I have to say, I was putting off watching this film. Rape scenes just stay with me for so long after I watch a movie. I still refuse to watch Irreversible. As for the assault in this movie: on the one hand, it is done offscreen, but on the other hand the situation leading up to it was way too realistic. I was also worried that the revenge portion would be exploitative; you know, the way movies about women empowering themselves pretty much end up being misogynistic anyway? I'm happy to say that isn't the case here. Though the women for sure exact frontier justice, again most of it is offscreen, and it serves the central premise instead of being designed merely to titillate.
That central premise being morality. Yes, the overarching theme is the rape culture of the US: both the boys will be boys attitude and the victim blaming. But for me, the rub of the film was are these women justified? Can they be the heroes of the piece even though they are committing cold blooded murder, a crime as equally wrong as rape? I don't know. Instances of male rape do occur, of course, but nowhere near to the scale of assaults against women, so there is an infinitesimal chance that I will ever know the fear, anger, pain, and humiliation that might drive a woman over the deep end to commit acts like they do in this film. But can that logic be turned around and applied to Simon as well?
So I guess a large part of what made me uncomfortable watching this movie is that being asked to sympathize with a murderer is the same as being asked to sympathize with a rapist, and lord knows I don't want to do that. Another part was the stark, unceremonious way in which the men are dispatched. Shae and Lu don't go in for histrionics: no big speeches, or drawn out scenarios. Just boom, you're dead. Also Nicole LaLiberte as Lu, the far more deranged of the two, is about the most fearless actress I've ever seen, and will creep the absolute shit out of you here.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen, 1.78:1, 1080p. This high-def transfer looks very good. My hat's off to the DP, Kathryn Westergaard . The photography manages to be stark without being clinical, and even scenes that take place in the dark are easily discernible.
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround with optional Spanish and English SDH subtitles. I really liked the sound design for this film. It adds a feeling of dread without overpowering the action.
The sole feature here is a commentary featuring writer/director Austin Chick and actress Danielle Panabaker. It's sort of quiet and sparse, which puts me off a bit when watching a commentary, but it does include some good info both about BTS stuff and stuff going on inside the film.
GIRLS AGAINST BOYS is a compelling, discomfiting movie. It deals with issues of rape culture, victim blaming, and the morality of vigilantism. Its stark, non-exploitative violence slapped me in the face. I'm not sure if I have the temerity to watch it again, but it will certainly be on my mind for a long time. I would definitely suggest checking this one out.