#108 – Death in the West

(2005, US/GB/Fr, 95min) Dir Larry Clarke, Matthew Barney, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Julian Schnabel Gaspar Noe. Cast Pascal Biscuit, the Baltimore Opera Group, Eddie Izzard, Monica Bellucci, Johnny Depp,  Alain de Monet.

Portmanteau on the theme ‘the decline of Western civilisation’ and like portmanteau since time immemorial the quality is variable in the extreme. Clarke interviews (surprise surprise) attractive young girls and boys about their lives and the future and gains occasional insight and more regular inadvertent humour. Barney organises a marching band that tips a crowd of horned opera singers into a pit with twelve foot pikes, the enjoyment of which will depend on one’s tolerance for Barney’s aesthetic. Julian Schnabel follows Johnny Depp on a Mexican trash heap and that’s about all that happens there. Some are interesting but all fail in their remit with none have anything particularly insightful to say our world as it is now, where it’s going or why, sacrificing the opportunity to engage in content for cheap shocks. Noe, who swings his camera around a gang of violent skinheads as they look for and find Jewish victims in the Paris night before going home for a gay orgy, scores copious points for his technical skill even if these points are immediately taken back for philosophical simplicity.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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