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Donkey Punch - Review

Donkey Punch

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DONKEY Punch is sure to attract a certain amount of notoriety from its provocative name alone. Try Googling it and you’ll be taken to some pretty sordid sex sites.

For those who don’t know what a donkey punch is, we won’t give it away here, but those that do will probably already know some of what to expect from this exploitative shocker.

While holidaying in Mallorca, Kim (Jaime Winstone), Tammi (Nichola Burley) and Lisa (Sian Breckin), three best friends who are attempting to distract Tammi from an ex-boyfriend back home, meet three middle-class London boys in the form of smooth operator Marcus (Jay Taylor), bad boy Bluey (Tom Burke) and fresh-faced Josh (Julian Morris). They subsequently head back to a luxury yacht the boys are crewing for the summer, where they also meet another of the crew hands, Sean (Robert Boulter).

The next few hours are spent partying at sea with the help of drink and drugs, resulting in a below deck orgy that leads to the death of one of the girls in a freak accident. But while the boys want to cover up the incident, the girls want to report it to the authorities and a desperate battle for survival ensues as they find themselves at odds with each other.

Director and co-writer Olly Blackburn sets out to wrap audiences in a “what would you do” style scenario that’s given extra edge by the intensity of both the sex scenes and the violence. And, to be fair, his film is shot with enough style to suggest he has a bright future ahead of him.

But if, like me, you struggle to understand the whole Ibiza culture of reckless hedonism then you’re automatically on the back foot. The “what would you do” quickly becomes a “why would you in the first place” that makes it hard to care about any of the characters.

It doesn’t help that proceedings becomes progressively more silly the longer the film drags on, with characters of both sexes reduced to stereotype and prone to reckless, non-practical decision-making. Some of the later plot devices feel like a laboured excuse to set up another ultra-violent death.

Performance-wise, the young British cast bare almost everything and a couple emerge with credit, including Nichola Burley and Robert Boulter as the most “sensible” and conflicted of the group. But you can’t help but wonder whether some of their exploits won’t be the stuff of nightmares when they look back on their careers, with Tom Burke especially grating as bad boy Bluey, complete with a ridiculous accent, and Sian Breckin feeling woefully exploited in the pivotal role of Lisa.

In the end, Donkey Punch seems to exist merely to deliver cheap, voyeuristic thrills that are designed to titillate and shock in equal measure. It’s actually quite a depressing experience.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: July 18, 2008