Cannibal DVD Review
Written by Ilan Sheady
DVD released by Matchbox Films
Written and Directed Benjamin Viré
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 86 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 26th September 2011
Nicolas Gob As Max
Helena Coppejans as Bianca
Eric Godon as Le Gitan
A reclusive off-road golfer (a what?) stumbles upon the unconscious body of a young girl. Carrying her home to his cabin in the woods he nurses her back to health. Other than that I couldn’t really give away more other than the film is called Cannibal.
This is, above all else, a love story but I wouldn’t rush out with your partner to buy a copy for a romantic night in. Not just yet anyway.
Fitting snugly in the same genre as Let The Right One In, Cannibal can also be described as an art-house movie. Admittedly the phrase is often thrown around but never fully explained so allow me elaborate. According to thefreedictionary.com, an art-house movie is defined as, “A film intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal”. This definitely describes Cannibal.
First thing you’ll find is that the script is uncomfortably minimalist and consists of bizarre conversations that sound surreal, as if the characters are involved in some strange pre-arranged roleplay. The fact that it is in French also makes you question whether something may have been lost in translation. Shortly afterwards you’ll also realise that you have no idea what is going on and that pretty much continues throughout the movie. It’s like you’ve walked in on a group of strangers halfway through a conversation and nobody will tell you what they are talking about. I imagine if my girlfriend DID sit down and watch this film with me she’d be asking questions like, “‘So who’s that?, Does he know her?, Where’s he going?, Why’s he doing that?”’ every 2 minutes... whilst my constant response of, "I don’t know" would increase in volume and agitation.
But Benjamin Viré’s feature length directorial debut is not a bad movie. While the script does leave you in the dark, the discomfort is quite effective at times. Because you literally have no idea what could happen next you hang on every word regardless of how banal it may seem. There are also some great Tarantino-esque conversations that aren’t necessary but add some colourful personality and dark humour. Speaking of colour there’s also some good use of it and when the film shifts to black and white it’s a bit ‘on-the-nose’, but a nice touch.
Cannibal teeters on the fence over whether you will like it or not. You watch it like a coin spinning on a coffee table waiting for it to land on heads or tails. Problem is when you get to the end of the movie there is very little payoff. Art-house is the Marmite of movies and you’ll either hate the ending or stand up and shout “bellissimo!”. It all comes down to whether you want to see a slasher movie or something ‘not designed for mass appeal’.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.