Posts Tagged ‘ritual’

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Mexican Grindhouse

Critics are polarized over this one. It’s been on my Netflix queue since it released, and I finally got around to it. There are pluses and minuses here. On the one hand they took it seriously, with a budget, shot on film, a number of locations and an unconventional story. On the other, it feels confined and constrained anyway with a couple of self-indulgent drawn out, slow scenes at the beginning that scream “I’m an Auteur!”

The family is perhaps not so believable either, a bit too fantastical in their interpersonal relationships.  They seemed stilted and scripted. What sticks out as exceptional is the greater meaning they seem to represent: the old ways vs. the modern. The family is a throwback to Mexican Indian savages, with cannibal rituals that survive in the shadows. Good idea, but it seemed more influenced by American slasher gore than by any anthropological exploration of people on the fringes.

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The characters are simple, way too simple. Their crimes are blundering and incompetent, surely unrealistic in their sheer incompetence. How does a cannibal family survive that long with such poor hunting skills?

In the end it seems to be a nasty statement about eradicating the primitives and their ways. Not that the modern forces are any more competent. The police are fools as well. Everyone is poorly skilled and blundering about in this world. I’m not sure the makers have a very positive view of humanity at all.

Poverty plays a background role.  The family ends up in dire economic straits at the film’s inception.  They live in a bare hovel.  Even their victims are mostly poor, from street kids to streetwalker whores.  What’s more the police are motivated to solve the case to get a bonus and a promotion.  Is poverty a motivator for the cannibalism?  Not so much, it turns out.  They aren’t hunting to have enough to eat, but for a religious ritual that needs to occur before a time deadline.

It is what it is.  The story lingers about the next day, and so maybe there’s more to ponder.

We Are What We Are inspired a US remake as well, which raked in some higher scores over at the Tomato site.  Maybe it’s worth a look.

3/5