Sunday, 24 May 2015

Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1974)

Uncut, Synapse DVD

Young Frigga is molested as a young girl and rendered mute as a result. Later, as a teen, she is groomed, hooked on heroin, pimped and repeated raped and abused. She trains in marksmanship, unarmed combat and driving and then seeks revenge on her pimp and his clients.

Christina Lundberg as Frigga is just brilliant; just as cool as fuck. Starting as vulnerable and shy, then rebelling against her situation, then slowly becoming a puppet-like addict beaten into submission, then slowly bulding in confidence, until she become a killing machine intent on revenge and escape. You know those movies where you want to be the hero, well I wanted to be Lundberg's character. There is something mythic about Frigga, the black coat, the eye patch; a real angel of death. It can't be coincidence that her name is from the goddess Frigg, wife of Odin One-Eye.

Even though the sex scenes were added to appeal to the then new pornography trade in Scandinavia they are handled very well and you are distanced by the clinical way it is filmed. Instead of titillation you feel incredibly uncomfortable, and if you find that of these scenes turn you on, you're a very strange person indeed. Do they add anything? I think that they do, although they do make the film a little long.

The slo-mo kills were pretty good, although quite tame considering the extreme nature of the rest of the film. Still good though. The film contains a real a-z of British 70s cars: Capri, Granada and even a Escort Mk1 (my first car) Mexico. The soundtrack is great, full of phasing, oscillations, reverb and loops. There is, on occasion, some absolutely stunning camera-work.

The picture on this Synapse DVD was great. They kept a lot of the grain, dirt, scratches and burn marks whilst still making it watchable. The term "Grindhouse Classic" was invented for films like this.

Horrible, unflinching, nasty, cruel, depressing and brilliant.

Original letterboxd review

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