Tuesday, September 04, 2007


It came as no surprise to me after watching this film that Susanne Hausschmid won a best actress award at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival for her performance as "The Woman" in Mark Savage's absolutely gut-wrenching DEFENCELESS: A BLOOD SYMPHONY. Without the use of dialog, the film tells the story of a woman (Hausschmid) who loses absolutely everything when she becomes the target of a group of land developers who want to destroy a beautiful beach so they can build a vacation resort. You will not believe the lengths that these men go to, you will not believe what the woman endures. Murder, humiliation, torture and rape are just the beginning in the first film I have ever seen that elevates the revenge genre above its grindhouse roots and manages to create a truly emotional experience without skimping on the elements that make up this kind of movie. Is there nudity? Yes, and very matter-of-fact. Is there gore? Buckets and buckets full. But along the way there is so much soul, so much sadness, and so much beauty that cuts just as deep as any of the abhorrent violence shown. DEFENCELESS is at times difficult to watch, as it should be given the subject matter, but Savage and Hausschmid are an amazing team that have managed to create a film I believe is the first one of its ilk to actually strike the correct balance of crime and punishment, character and action, horror and heart. Highly recommended.


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