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Quentin Tarantino's Hostel
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saxifrage00
(Background: Was going to be playing D&D tonight, but it fell through at the last minute with a player not being able to make it until late and another needing to work early in the morning. So, audaciousartist, neomeruru, and I went and saw a movie at Guildford.)

Do NOT go see Hostel on a whim. That puppet movie and Southpark didn't deserve the NC-17/18A rating when they're compared to this.

The plot is well enough. The sex is not what gives this movie its rating, though there's plenty of that. (The tastefulness, or lack thereof, of the sexual content is another issue, and one that I think was actually deliberate... but that's another issue, yeah.) The rating is earned, in spades and possibly to the point where there really should be another higher level of rating, by the torture scenes that are prevalent in this movie. And it's Tarantino-graphic, too... so, yeah. Ugh. Volumes could be said about those scenes but I just won't. Gratuitous violence is often enough to make people squeamish, but gratuitous torture is an order of magnitude worse.

We were sick to our stomachs when we left the theatre. That we would actually make it all the way to the credits was doubtful at several points. There were only about a dozen people in the theatre, including us, and fully half left at some point, audaciousartist being the first. I don't blame him, but my insatiable curiosity for how it would end and my overdeveloped suspension of disbelief that is tailored to disturbing media (qv. recent raccoon testicles posts) led me to tough it out as much as I could. Holy crap, but did that movie stress the limits of my mental endurance.

For what it was, the movie was brilliant. Technical execution, manipulation of North American's sensibilities for horrific effect, plotting, atmosphere, characterisation, anything... However, I really can't think of any reason that I would recommend it to anyone, even on video, because I think it just goes too far beyond tolerable. Having seen it, I think I would spare myself the agony if I had the chance to go back and choose again, and that's saying a lot coming from me, with my particular philosophy about regret and experience.

It's just... no. No.

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Ugh! Yeah, I expect I'd have been the first one out of there.

Well. Glad I saw Narnia instead.

I wish I had. Or that silly Jim Carrie movie.

I wasn't a fan of this x-treme horror cinema when it was just being done in the back waters of Asia, and I'm not thriled with it now. I supposed this must be how people who don't love John Woo Style action felt when it came here in the early 90s.

I was hoping they would have tried to make a contrast between the sadism of the clientel and the hedonism of the backpackers, perhaps tracing them both to personal satisfaction and the double standard of "exceptional' and 'unexceptional' behavior.

The philosophical point could still be made, but I dont think it was what the film was aiming for.

Interesting bit of trivia, the original ending had the Last Guy Standing killing the daughter of Mr. Sadist. Also, the director brought in a string quartet to the set to play vivaldi because the place was just too creepy.

I feel almost proud of myself that I didn't find the movie that intolerable, Teri was laughing at a few points when we watched it, which probably helped. I will admit there were parts which were generally gruesome, but when I discussed it with someone before I had seen it, he said it was like watching a live beheading.

I think that set my expectations too high.

(I'm guessing this is kindelingboy and LJ just did its new surprise-logout trick.)

Yeah, I can totally see the need for Vivaldi. I often resorted to "they're just actors using excellent special effects" when I was particularly squeemed, which was soon followed by wondering what it was like to work on the set.

I think the movie can be read that way, regarding the sadism/hedonism thing. Certainly, the two were connected by the common fluid of the whole "not-quite-right" atmosphere that the movie had going. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's an actual subtext that was inserted by the directors (maybe unconciously, even).

I am shocked that you found it shocking
Should I be checking into a hospital?

The shocking part was when he went back for the girl. DON'T GO BACK FOR THE GIRL! And when he crawls into a cart of dead bodies. YES, YOU CAN ESCAPE WITH THE DEAD BODIES. Right.

Also - not reeeeally Tarantino's :p Tarantino was one of three exec producers

Eli Roth did Cabin Fever which everyone except me hated. I think I'm the only one who saw it as a parody and understood the nuances and the humor. Okay, not the only one, but I think there's a small group of horror fans who likes this kind of stuff and can talk about it forever. People seem to want to write it off as another Craven/teenaged/etc piece of fluff, but it was hilarious. Cabin Fever was so wonderfully orchestrated for a first film, and Hostel definately followed in its footsteps, I think. I even like Hostel's gratuitous use of boobies.

It certainly pushed my buttons. I think it had much more impact because I actually had no idea what it was about when I went in.

Going back for the girl? I was totally all "That'd be so cliché, he won't go back... WTF? DON'T GO BACK!" I rather suspect that it was for character development—the hedonistic ne'er-do-well (as opposed to the good-guy blond kid) making good and showing his moral fibre. Of course, then it gets contrasted with his revenge, but... yeah, character development, I think. Just twisted.

Remember the girl who was drowning that he didn't save. It was his chance to redeem himself.

Which is why this part of the movie confused me - redeem? What? Moral message? Huh?

And apparently, his revenge was supposed to be killing the guy's daughter - but "It was changed for the film because many of the film's producers told Eli Roth that it was too violent and it changed Jay Hernandez's character into a bad person; this ending was filmed and will be present on the DVD." I can only wonder what it is that producers of THIS film thought was TOO violent..?

See the reason I figured it wouldn't be the type of movie to affect you is, I guess, I kind of assumed (maybe it was the raccoon testicles) that you'd seen films like Takeshi Miike's or Cannibal Holocaust or something. And then I thought maybe you had and even though this movie wasn't any more violent than, say, Ichi the Killer, or Oldboy or something, the violence is sort of.. delivered differently than in those. So maybe my problem is that I take too much of a critical eye to movies and thus never really get into them in the way I'm supposed to. So instead I scream "HEY I CAME HERE FOR MORE BLOOD" at the screen when they don't show enough of Josh's surgery.

Yeah, I haven't seen any of those films. I miss most movies when they're in the theatre, so my film education is pretty spotty. I don't tend to come to a movie in a critical way, though I do pull them apart after watching. But, when I'm actually seeing it for the first time, I'm just experiencing it on the director's terms. It actually means that I can appreciate a huge range of film. This one, though, had very challenging terms to work with and it really pulled me in.

The moral part was the tension between Paxton being a self-serving college jerk, saving the girl, murdering a murderer who would keep doing it again, getting revenge on the girls who trapped him... All of his decisions had varying levels of necessity and moral implications, which is actually fascinating. The movie ends with his moral record kind of in a delicate and uncertain balance: was it right to do all the things he did? It's a question left up to the viewer.

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