Saturday, March 14, 2015

Black Rock, Don't Mess With These Ladies

One of the most underrated films of the last 10 years is 2012's "Black Rock." Katie Aselton is to be lauded for a magnificent effort, not just as the star, but also as the writer and director of this thriller.  Unlike "50  Shades of Gray," "Black Rock" is a girls' movie that even men will enjoy.  Set and filmed on a remote island off the Maine coast, many will compare this work to "Deliverance" or "Southern Comfort."  Perhaps that is a fair comparison, but the character development is much more tender (...perhaps the feminine influence of Ms. Aselton).  Don't don't be fooled by that tenderness, as "Black Rock" is a brutal, unmerciful film which sheds much blood.
The plot: Sarah (Kate Bosworth) arranges for her and two friends to spend a couple days on a remote island off the Maine coast.  Lou (Lake Bell) and Abby (Aselton) haven't spoken in years, as Lou seduced Abby's boyfriend.  As the journey begins, Abby and Lu are bitter enemies, and Sarah desperately tries to work out a reconciliation.  As the trio begins to explore the island, they are startled to discover three hunters have also arrived on this rock.  The three hunters are childhood friends of our protagonists, but as we find out....they each have been dishonorably discharged for murderous war crimes in Afghanistan.  Abby is obviously hiding something, we suspect a failed marriage, and invites the men to drink with them on the beach.  She gets drunk and seduces Henry (Will Bouvier).  As the two start down the path of extra-marital sex, Abby changes her mind.  Henry is a bit compulsive and tries to rape her. In the struggle, Abby delivers a lucky blow, killing Henry.  Uh oh....Henry's pals, Derek (Jay Paulson) and Alex (Anslem Richardson) are even more psycho than the now deceased Henry.
Derek and Alex, unhinged by the death of Henry, beat the snot out of the ladies and tie them up, prepping them for execution.  Using their wits, the women escape, and are now hunted by the two war criminals.  Abby and Lou must put their differences aside as the three must work together to survive the male predators.  Though this movie does have a focus on the relationship of these women, it is a horrific tale of survival.  I won't give any spoilers, but our diminutive heroines must turn into bloodthirsty hunters, themselves.  Now, not only are they hunted, but they are also hunters. Unarmed, suffering from hypothermia, and scared, Abby, Lou, and Sarah must kill or be killed.  The ending is brutal, and extremely violent.  
Abby, Lou, and Sarah are not sitting around scrap-booking or going to book club meetings.  Though they prioritize relationships, killing and mayhem also take priority in their weekend getaway.  Men wouldn't mind chick flicks so much if more mayhem and carnage was mixed in with discussions about feelings and tenderness.  Not the feel good movie of the last 10 years, but a gritty and violent study of three women striving to stay alive.  Great acting by all six stars, and wonderful direction by Ms. Aselton, "Black Rock is available on Netflix.

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