Friday, December 7, 2012

Soiled Sinema review of "Revision - Apocalypse II"

Dec 7, 2012

Revision  Apocalypse II

The second chapter in his “Apocalypse Trilogy” (the first being Edwin Brienen’s Hysteria(2006)), delightfully dastardly Dutch auteur Edwin Brienen’s (TerroramaViva Europa!) nihilistic melodrama/horror flick Revision - Apocalypse II (2009) is a work that – given its seemingly Satanic philosophy (in the past, Brienen has displayed an interest in atheistic LaVeyean/Nietzschean thought) and perturbing prophetic albeit ambiguous ‘message’ – begins quite sardonically with a quote from Revelation 22:13 that reads: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Inspired by a startling dream he had of a giant Jesus icon on a mountain top shooting lasers out of his eyes like in some Japanese monster movie that turned people into mindless lemmings, his obsession with post-911 conspiracy theories, fear-mongering in the mainstream media, and sleazy grindcore flicks, Brienen eventually came up with the idea for a quasi-futuristic, yet conspicuously modern film where a melancholy ex-model named Traci (played by Brienen superstar Eva Dorrepaal of Lebenspornografie and Last Performance infamy) – a disillusioned lapsed Christian who has reluctantly embraced nihilism – decides to surrender herself to the ‘ultimate act of evil’ at her deranged hubby’s advice so as to fill her tormented spiritual void. Never alone wherever she may be, the model is haunted by beefy, beer-belly-flaunting and (unintentionally) hilarious inner-demon named Vince Destructo (played by German-born rapper Jacob Dove Basker) who breaks out into thrashy screamo/punk songs (taken from the Dutch group The House of Destructo’s second album “Everything Must be Destroyed”) and who acts as a sort of Jungian ‘shadow’; the dark, unconscious, instinctive, and irrational hidden self. Relatively equal parts dystopian postmodern nightmare, menacing melodrama, nihilistic and atmospheric The Last House on Dead End Street (1977) inspired exploitation flick, and misanthropic musical, Revision - Apocalypse II is Edwin Brienen at his best as an aesthetically and thematically eclectic cinematic work that is nothing short of singular and unclassifiable. 

 Patently pessimistic Traci is one decidedly dispirited lady, but she is not so deluded as to delight in her despair like a masochist, thus she is willing to go to a number of extremes to shed or at least lessen her wicked woes. Miss misanthropic sees so little hope for the world, that she states while confiding in a friend, “Back then there was Hitler, nowadays it’s even worse. We have the New World Order…It’s all about control…I sometimes wonder what these monsters want now. They already control the earth. Now they want complete control of the collective mind. That what is called god.” Indeed, with terrorists everywhere as sort of pomo movie stars and forced chip implantation used on law abiding citizens, Traci knows better than anyone else that fear truly eats the soul, so to strike back at god and country, and to have a little taste of power for herself, she decides that murdering and mutilating people will make for a great change of pace. Unfortunately for her, torture and terror do not seem to be Traci’s cup of tea, at least when it comes to acting as a sort of personal therapy, thereupon leading her to lose the little bit of semblance of sanity and self-control that she had left. For Traci, friends and fuck-buddies come and go, but her inner-demon – the heavy and hysterical hirsute fellow that heatedly howls while not far from her side – is forever. Featuring an extended cameo/music performance from The Horrorist (aka Oliver Chesler; probably best known in the film world for being the idealistic young punk from the Depeche Mode documentary 101 (1989) co-directed D.A. Pennebaker), on top of the various raging, ridiculous, and oftentimes retarded lip-synched inner-demon Vince Destructo, Revision - Apocalypse II is a strikingly schizophrenic salmagundi of sight and sound that – whether a conscious decision on director Brienen’s part or not – underscores, to the extent of sardonic parody, the soulless, multimedia pseudo-existence modern life in American and Western Europe has degenerated into with Traci – a beauteous yet childless woman who is well past her prime and has nothing of intrinsic value in her life – acting as an archetype for modern female discontent and dejection. 

 Coming from The Netherlands – one of the most degenerate liberal democracies in the world – Brienen’s films are superlatively symbiotic of Occidental decline. The main difference between him and other filmmakers is that he recognizes it and to some extent even embraces it, if not in a totally unsentimental and nihilistic sort of manner that is bound to repel more sensitive viewers. Of course, Revision - Apocalypse II is not without flaws, most specifically in regard to the rather superficial dealing with conspiracy theories and themes of technocratic authoritarianism, but then again one does not watch an Edwin Brienen for a lesson in New World Order Terrorism 101. Indeed, one watches a film by “the Dutch Fassbinder” so they can experience a bit of aesthetically cinematic terrorism of the infectiously titillating and delightfully degrading form.  With that in mind, I think it is safe to say that, like South African auteur Aryan Kaganof, Brienen is one of the few truly uncompromising filmmaker working today during a time where the 'auteur filmmaker' – the last true dictators - are virtually nonexistent.  Additionally, like his hero Fassbinder, Brienen is not just interested in pleasing pretentious arthouse crowds, but also making his work more ‘accessible’ to wider audiences; however, this is not done to the detriment of his artistic vision as there is not a single work directed by the iconoclastic Dutchman that leaves the viewer with the sense of 'closure' that the typical Hollywood and even so-called 'independent' films do. Although Revision - Apocalypse II is not the sort of film that would appeal to a Quentin Tarantino or Christopher Nolan fanboy, it is certainly the rare brand of idiosyncratic cinema that would appeal to the more discerning arthouse and horror fans alike, which one cannot say about most films.  That being said, with 'art cinema' dying as a whole in the Occident, at least we have films like Revision - Apocalypse II where it will perish in flames rather than with an unnoticed whimper.  In other words, Viva La Apocalypse!!!

-Ty E

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