12 April 2006 | adlanders
The Lost: A Return To Realism
Possible Spoilers!!-I attended a preview screening of "The Lost". Having read the book, as well as an account of the true story on which Jack Ketchum's tale is based, I had an idea of what to expect, however, I was unprepared for the integrity shown by the filmmakers in their unflinching look at narcissistic violence. The main character, Ray Pye (chillingly portrayed by Marc Senter) represents the childish nature of current American Pop Culture in which we have become so accustomed to instant gratification that, when we don't actually get what we want when we want it, the infant inside us can explode. And that indeed is the story of Ray Pye. "The Lost", for me, is a return to 1970's style film-making, ala "Taxi Driver" & "Straw Dogs". To call it simply a horror film is to sell it short. The writer/director Chris Sivertson has created a character driven story in which Pye's need for control is driven up a notch with the introduction of each new (independent) female character, women with their own problems, and so not as naive as the two "robots" Pye has controlled since high school. This loss of control, combined with the scrutiny of a dogged police detective, is what ultimately causes Pye's "makeup" to crack, if you will. What results is violent indeed, but shown with a realism much needed in this day and age of CGI "shock and awe" gore. And unlike some of the unnecessary cruelty depicted in movies like "Saw", scenes of torture shown seemingly for no other reason than to "top" the competition, the culmination of Pye's frustration has a very specific conclusion, and without trying to psychoanalyze too deeply, it is indeed symbolic that Pye's rage is infantile in nature. The ending of the film will cause many to gasp, but is in no way gratuitous. At any rate, it is not my intention to "review" the film, per se, although it is made with much technical skill and good knowledge of effective camera angles, dynamic sound effects and some very inventive "kinetic" editing sequences, giving the viewer an "adrenaline" rush, coming from fear, as if we are in the room with Pye and his victims. If you have read any of Ketchum's work (or are familiar with the true story of Charles Schmid) you will know going in that this film is no fairy tale. And yet, it is hoped by this film fanatic that "The Lost", BECAUSE of it's realism, and BECAUSE it depicts violence as it really is, neither glossed over nor unnecessarily gory, will find distribution to as many screens as possible, because believe it or not folks, there is an audience out there who remember the great independent filmmakers of the 1970s and have been wondering for a while when the next batch of Scorceses and Schraders were gonna come along. Coming from a totally original perspective, two of them are here now: Chris Sivertson and Lucky McKee. They have made an excellent character study here. With "The Lost", they have cast a steady gaze on the nature of violence, holding Ray Pye up in the mirror to show us the real reflection of what takes place when a culture of indulgence goes unchecked for too long. In this day and age of ho-hum mass murder and twenty-four hour turnaround "change the subject" news media, to make a film like "The Lost" takes courage and integrity. Sivertson and McKee have these qualities, as well as talent in spades. Let's give them the recognition they deserve!