Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week of the Killer (1973)

Your soup will never be the same

This is a gradually paced Spanish drama on the downbeat side about a man named Marcos who shirks responsibility, whether it be for doing something more with his life or accounting for his own actions. He works at a slaughter factory and lives in a measly residence on the outskirts of town with his brother. He leads a simple life by laying about without his shirt, frequenting the nearby eatery with a waitress that is friendly, as well as running into an acquaintance who walks his dog and lives in the nearby high-rise apartments. Marcos and his steady girlfriend Paula are showing a little public display of affection when out on the town. They take a taxi and the driver midway through slams the breaks and tells them to get out. Marcos refuses to pay and the taxi driver assaults him and his girlfriend. Marcos grabs a nearby rock and clobbers the irate man on his head and they leave. The newspapers reveal the taxi driver died and the girlfriend's conscience starts to grow. She gives her boyfriend the ultimatum of him going to the police or she won't marry a man with a life of lies. In the heat of the moment, he kills her rather than face potential consequences for the action of the first murder. From then on out the dominoes fall faster than he can stop them from spiraling out of control by just killing more and more whenever someone is on to him.

"I know a lot of people who get ill when they see blood. You're not the same way about blood," says a friend after he gets cut and Marcos responds back with, "No, doesn't bother me in the least." The film insinuates that by him working in a factory day in and out killing animals, that he can be numb when it comes to murdering another human being to the point of not even flinching. Even his brother becomes surprised by his actions, which is reason enough to say that his absence of feelings came about later, rather than picking the slaughterhouse job because it's in his nature. Killing one type of flesh is for sustenance and murdering the other is a choice that affects his freedom, though that line starts to get blurred and co-merge with him. He's not just lying and stealing, but something that ends all ties to just anybody but people that care about him. He essentially jumps right into it to protect a life that's somewhat simple, reserved and uneventful otherwise. It makes the picture somewhat gloomy in that there's little to gain from it and hold onto. Despite some protests to stay away, every other person keeps seeing the bodies in his house and he decides to carry the remains in a sports bag only to blend the human remains with animal meat in a grinder at the factory he works at with no one the wiser. Yet, poetic justice wasn't what he expected. Someone has a collective eye on him and the final result of the film is somewhat unexpected but also depressing for those involved.

This had some decent performances, with Vincent Parra doing more physical acting than speaking. The setups are sometimes extended for atmosphere as well as to give the actors some room to breath their roles. The US title "Cannibal Man" makes this out to be just an exploitation film, though it plays on some morals and social commentary of early '70s Spain, with premarital sex, a potential same sex relationship, animal slaughter, murder and how the rich and poor are viewed and treated differently. It gives the movie a little more to think about instead of going for a straightforward experience of the macabre. Though it does show some blood and a little gore, such as the after effects of a clever to the face. There are also real shots in a few areas of a slaughter house with cows getting their throats cut and blood drained all over the floors and then carcasses being split down the middle to divide up the meat. The majority of the deaths have a reason behind them, instead of him going out of his way to hack people up, though the girlfriend's death felt too abrupt and made him out to just have an anger problem rather than other possibly deeper issues. The nudity is just one scene above the waist. The filmmakers made the Marcos character out to be a product of society rather than doing it entirely as an individual. His social status played a role to how the events got so out of control: police believing the rich rather than the poor, someone who cuts flesh all day for the people, doesn't always differentiate when it's being done to people. Though having that perspective for him isn't going to be like "The Bicycle Thief," as he's not just robbing somebody, but committing murder to cover up facing responsibility.

Rating: 7/10

Director: Eloy de la Iglesia (R.I.P. 2006) (Glass Ceiling, No One Heard the Scream)
Stars: Vicente/Vincent Parra, Emma Cohen
Link: IMDB

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