28 July 2018 | paul2001sw-1
Touch of Evil
If you made up the story of 'Olympic Dreams of Russian Gold' (a rubbish title by the way - you could just as easily call it 'Russian dreams of Olympic Gold' and not lose any meaning, suggesting it is really just a random collection of vaguely suitable words thrown together at random for aesthetic effect - but I digress), you might not beleive it. A beautiful, talented but apparently tender-hearted youung Russian gynmast is bullied relentlessly by her coaches ahead of the Olympics. What they do is not coaching at all in any sense that I would recognise: rather, it reminds one more of the world of 'Full Metal Jacket': even if they aren't pumping her full of performance enhancing drugs, this is abuse of the highest level. One's ability to enjoy the extraordinary athleticism on display, meanwhile, is offset by the extent to which the competitotrs are sexualised - and forced to perform in what is little more than underwear. The narrative points in one direction - my only spoiler is that the final updates we receive are not what I was expecting, but complete the story arc as a grand tragedy. I found this a harrowing film to watch: in general, I'm not in favour of a punitive legal system, but it made me want to take those responsible, lock them up, and throw away the key, and I don't care how many champions they have produced.