22 September 2001 | Kill-Gore
"Flesh" & "Blood": Verhoeven's clever euphemisms for "Sex" & "Violence", his trademarks. Exceptional.
Ok, we're talking about a movie that's basically titled Sex & Violence by none other than Paul Verhoeven?! Those of us who know better should know what to expect here. For those of you who don't, know this: the same man responsible for the ultra sexy "Basic Instinct" and the ultra violent "RoboCop" made his debut (in American cinema, at least) with this masterwork concoction of ultra sex AND ultra violence.
Set in medieval Europe, the utter savagery of the sex and violence in this film is perhaps more at home than it could have been in any other setting. Depredation and debauchery: to the victor go the spoils, be they women, wealth, or what have you. And just a brief word about the plague: there's been a lot of criticism about the accuracy of its use in this movie. How 'bout the sheer ingenuity of it: the use of plague ridden slabs of dog as biological weaponry. Repugnant. Vile. Ingenious. Priceless, I loved it.
Rutger Hauer is excellent, this is probably my favorite performance of his. He's a power inflated pillager who is a bit of a tyrant to his followers. He's the devil we expect him to be. Jennifer Jason Leigh is surprisingly good in her youth as a sexually curious, devious little wench whose loyalties sway with the wind. She's a survivor.
Who this movie is NOT for: Those who have to think too hard about every movie they see, who demand a certain level of intellectuality (which is commendable). Plot holes? Are you kidding me, what plot? This isn't English Patient, its Sex and Violence. And for those with inhibitions about film content, who demand a certain level of decency (which is understandable), again, Sex and Violence, this movie is certainly not for you.
One of the few films I would call a masterpiece. But that's coming from someone who thinks Apocalypse Now is the finest cinematic experience ever realized, so take that for what its worth. RoboCop, I would call a masterpiece. U Turn, I would call a masterpiece. Big Lebowski, I would call a masterpiece. Flesh & Blood I would call a masterpiece.