Thursday, August 6, 2020


Antonia Bird's Ravenous opens with John Boyd (Guy Pearce) earning a promotion for his contribution in the Mexican-American War. But we later find out that sad contribution -- infiltrating enemy lines by playing dead -- was not a stroke of genius but rather an act of cowardice. It's because of this that Boyd gets exiled to a remote military post.

Shortly afterwards, a frostbitten man named Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) shows up. He tells the garrison how his wagon train -- in the grips of starvation -- were reduced to cannibalism and ultimately murder in order to survive. And that's when the real horror begins.

There's a very dark sense of humor running through Ravenous. ("It's lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends.") And even then it doesn't feel out of place from the film's overall tone. After all, wouldn't you be cracking tasteless jokes in order to ease some of the tension?

On a somewhat frustrating note, this was only one of four feature films Bird made during her career. (After making Ravenous, she shifted her focus back to television, where she remained until her death in 2013.) Did Bird find filmmaking not as rewarding as revision? Or did she endure what many female filmmakers before and since Bird have faced?

Anyway, Ravenous is similar to Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark in that sometimes a woman's touch is what's needed to an already dark story. (Perhaps coincidentally, Bird was a replacement for original director Milcho Manchevski on the recommendation of Carlyle.) After all, why should men have all the fun? Women can embrace darkness too; just look at Jennifer's Body.

My Rating: ****

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post
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