Den 24 år gamle Thomas Clay har laget det som er en av Cannes (og dette årets) mest kontroversielle filmer.
Jeg har ikke sett den – men jeg skal se litt på kritikerne har sagt:
«Thomas Clay’s THE GREAT ECSTASY OF ROBERT CARMICHAEL is really a disaffected youth picture, but it ends with the most gratuitously offensive bloodbath in years. People literally ran for the exits when the title character sexually violates a pregnant woman with a broken bottle and then rapes her with a sword. Clearly, the Cannes crowd hadn’t seen Lucio Fulci’s NEW YORK RIPPER! Clay’s use of Iraq War footage over the end credits to glibly politicize this moment caused just as much upset as the graphic imagery. Even Tartan Films boss Hamish McAlpine balked at this one!»
In sum, The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael is a cynical, nasty piece of work that screams for your attention like a spoiled child. The best strategy is thus to not give it any. Maybe then Clay will go away, think about what he has done and come back with a film that puts his undoubted talent – there isn’t much wrong with his direction in and of itself and he makes telling use of the music of Elgar and Purcell – to better use.
The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael is not a flawless film by any stretch, but it showcases formidable talent and ambition. Its filmmakers – who are only 26 – will doubtless be forced to defend their decision to make it for a while yet, but it’s worth defending and, more importantly, worth seeing.
International Film Festival Rotterdam:
Not everyone can cope with this film. This becomes apparent time after time. Critics look for words to express their feeling of unease. Audience members leave the cinema before the film is over. It may be that the diversity of reactions – people shout bravo to vie with the booing – show that this is a special film. And a powerful film by an obviously talented first-time film maker. The Robert Carmichael of the title is a rather gangling and quiet secondary-school pupil. He lives with his mother in a boring coastal town. Together with his mother, he also obediently practices on the cello. He plays very well. He doesn’t really have any friends and no one knows he sometimes surreptitiously reads a book by the cruel Marquis de Sade. He doesn’t seem to realise what slumbering powers can be awoken in him by this. At a certain moment, Robert seeks contact with a bunch of street-corner kids. Kids who use pills and also try to deal a bit. And then things soon go from bad to worse. And when the really criminal cousin of one of the kids gets out of jail, everything gets even heavier. The crime. The drugs. The consequences. In the shy Robert, a manic monster awakes.
Ultra violent and nauseating, but technically dazzling, Brit helmer Thomas Clay’s feature debut «The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael» is destined to vie with «Battle in Heaven» for 2005’s Most Shocking Film in Cannes. Criss-crosser set in a coastal Blighty town features not one but two violent gang rapes, one offscreen and one on, which make «A Clockwork Orange» look like a Britney Spears video. Auds will be deeply divided on whether pic’s graphic violence is justified by references to the horrors of war (it’s set during the recent Iraqi invasion) or just gratuitous, using faux-profundity for cynical, attention-seeking showmanship.