Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Allan Brown2
Movie Review: Martyrs (2008)
Director: Pascal Laugier
Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin
Plot: Lucie a young woman plagued by her past seeks revenge on the people who kidnapped and tortured her as a child. This leads her on a terrifying, physical and physiological journey into the depths of depravity.
Martyrs (sigh)……..Where to even begin with this film?
To say this French picture demonstrated one of the most difficult watches for me in recent times would be an understatement. It makes the so-called torture-porn movies of Saw and Hostel whose whole premise of murder set-pieces look like as a walk in the park. If Saw and the Hostel films are Hollywood then Martyrs is surely the real thing.
Martyrs tells the story of Lucie who after suffering fifteen years of abduction and torture embarks (along with her friend Anna) on a bloody revenge against her captors. Their quest quickly descends into chaos as both Anna and Lucie fight for their lives along with their sanity as we witness the absolute depths of depravity and inhumanity unravel as we begin to learn the true intentions of their oppressors.
The movie is shot with a certain flare of artistry and assurance and the acting from our two female leads Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï is more than noteworthy. They both deliver powerful, harrowing, unflinchingly real and emotional performances in their respective roles as Anna and Lucie.
As previously mentioned Martyrs is an extremely difficult watch with some of the most sadistic and graphic images I’ve witnessed in film. It flirts with some deeper issues, interesting themes and metaphors but unfortunately these ideas are never fully explored or realised and at times seem only present to exempt the film makers from being perceived as voyeurs of torture porn and snuff films.
Summary: Although Martyrs is undoubtedly shot with skill and talent its lack of subtleties and refusal to fully explore the bigger ideas and themes hinted at throughout somewhat cheapen the experience. If you do decide to take the journey, Good Luck and be sure to have a psychiatrist’s number on speed dial.