Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Violent Kind (2010)

A little over ambitious, but a one of a kind picture

This is a film that could almost be broken into three differently toned parts along the lines of a format similar to "A.I." and "Martyrs." Likewise, the first half seems conventional enough, the second half more dangerous and the third is about as bleak as they come--by the time it finishes, how it began will be a distant memory.

"The Violent Kind" starts out as a cool and sleazy afternoon in Oakland, CA with a posse of three young biker buddies belonging to "The Crew" who are without a care or concern except living up their own impulsive behavior from rough sex, fights to drinking beer. They go to Cody's mother's 50th birthday at an isolated house and instead of finding a bunch of well-behaved and mature adults, everybody celebrates with loud rock 'n' roll, more drinking and strippers. After almost everybody leaves, the real party just gets started, one where their livers aren't going to be the only things on the line.

Cody's ex girlfriend returns a bloodied mess and asks for help. She's brought inside and placed in a bed until the remaining people left over--three guys, two gals--can figure out why their vehicles won't work and their cell phones act glitchy to get help as they're in the middle of nowhere. All the while the audience is shown mysterious others that hang outside in the shadows. They visit the only neighbor around and cryptic symbols are shown written on the walls in blood to allude to something ominous on the horizon. Soon enough things start to get really weird, as the woman on the bed turns Linda Blair-like possessed and with her bare hands mutilates one of the guys trying to get frisky and feel her up.

Soon enough, the mysterious outsiders show up to the house to collect something they need. Though it's like they stepped into another era or some kind of paranormal realm as there are unexplained flashes of light and these new strangers appear to be ripped out of a time warp from the '50s with their distinct attire, tunes and lingo. They've got a dark and condescending sense humor that includes torturing their hostages while playing theme music on the record player and all the while laughing sardonically like they know a big secret their captives don't. They put on a sadistic show and fit their eccentric parts like a glove, though it's a rather pointless game except to show what kind of people they're dealing with: the violent kind.

The first phase is more fleshed out and some perspective is gained of the young gang with some internal conflicts, though it's a different type of knowing as being familiar with their disregard for restraint sets a new bar for comfortable living at the expense of others as well as themselves. Everything is so rebellious, carefree and in-the-moment that it's hard to care of their safety or even their demise because they might have already had it coming. The next phase is going for mystery and cheap thrills by keeping the audience in the dark with only snippets of light to what, how or why these people are there. The ending gave a feeling of hopelessness as it left the audience as well as the characters out to dry. However, they made it too powerful and far reaching without actually showing the big picture and how these select people tie in, even if they seem incidental. It would be like watching "Night of the Living Dead," except where the TV and word of mouth by others are missing, which would leave the focus in one area but not effectively set up for how it all pans out or ties in to a global matter. Otherwise it feels exaggerated to stretch its importance.

"The Violent Kind" isn't going to be for everybody but it's definitely a different type of film which travels over a wide arc of genres and steps on any morals or taboos it can in the process. One of its setbacks is it felt like a condensed mini-series that gives assorted tastes of a little bit of here and there, but not enough to really appreciate and savor everything you just seen. It's entertaining to a degree, and with the change-ups I can't say it was boring, even if everything doesn't line up or is what it is anticipated to be. It gives some homage to other films and had some hiccups though all and all it did seem one of a kind.

Rating: 6.5/10

Director: Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores (The Hamiltons, April Fool's Day 2008)
Stars: Cory Knauf, Taylor Cole, Bret Roberts, Christina Prousalis
Link: IMDB

Facts from the Black and Red:

- The oldest motorcycle club is the Yonkers Motorcycle Club of New York which formed in 1903.

- The big four outlaw motorcycle gangs or 1 percenters are: Hell's Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos and Pagans.

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