Chained - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
JENNIFER Lynch’s Chained is a difficult film to review in many ways in that it’s good at what it does but deeply unpleasant and near impossible to recommend.
It’s a film very much rooted in torture porn convention (which is how it began life in its early drafts) but which attempts to transcend that genre by offering something more psychological.
But the main problem remains: it’s still unlikeable, while its devotion to keeping things as realistic as possible makes for a wholly uncomfortable experience that begs the question of why anyone wanted to make it in the first place.
The story picks up as a mother (Julia Ormond) and her nine-year-old son Tim (Evan Bird) are picked up after an afternoon at the movies by a cab driver, Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio), who turns out to be a rapist-serial killer.
Hence, once he has driven them to his home and had his way with her, Tim is left as his prisoner.
The film then jumps forward 10 years to when Tim (now called Rabbit) is an older teenager (played by Eamon Farren) and still under the control of Bob.
An uneasy alliance has formed between them, however, that sees Bob encouraging Rabbit to follow in his footsteps and lose his virginity. But how much ‘freedom’ can he really give Rabbit before he tries to escape? And if given the opportunity would he even want to?
Lynch’s film does maintain a grim fascination in seeing how this relationship unfolds and is well-served by two excellent lead performances. D’Onofrio, especially, succeeds in creating a genuinely grotesque monster who never courts sympathy even though we are encouraged to understand his story.
And Farren is a decent match for him, creating a believably strained and nicely ambiguous relationship. The film is at it’s best and most gripping when concentrating on their relationship.
Lynch, too, deserves a certain credit for not lingering on the violence (a lot of which is sexual) and playing up the psychology, while also dropping in a halfway decent twist towards the end.
But there is still a lot that is difficult to watch and you’d have to question the type of mind that a film of this nature might appeal to. It’s rightly not an easy watch that genuinely does disturb.
But brave performances aside, it may also be the type of film that shouldn’t really be made, existing at the troubling end of the horror spectrum.
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: February 1, 2013