I saw Hostel tonight with a crowd that was very receptive to the
experience. Mine was more hostile. The film opens like a teen sex
comedy. We are meant to identify with three young guys, who's idea of
fun is getting high and having sex with prostitutes. This first section
is littered with naked women, in what might just be the least sexy
presentation of naked women anywhere. One can sense director Eli Roth
and his cronies giving each other high fives off-camera, much like the
silhouetted threesome early on in the film, as they pay surgically
enhanced women to take their clothes off.
The three men find themselves in Slovakia, and in what is referred to as an art show or an exhibit. Rich men have paid Russian gangsters to torture and ultimately murder a human being, our heroes? subjects? One by one, the men are tortured and killed in escalating graphic manners. The final man escapes, is involved in a car chase, and ultimately becomes what he was trying to escape.
This is, at its black heart, a very dumb movie. Probably, the most clever thing in the film, is the very weak parallel drawn between the legalized red light district in Amsterdam, and the illicit torture rooms in Slovakia. Everything else is just baloney. We don't really care about the three men, so the tortures that they endure aren't really effective at eliciting any sympathy, it's more that we're glad it's not happening to us. The motivations for the men that torture is never made clear, it's more a general sociopathic disconnect that's vaguely hinted at. It's also worthwhile noting that the one character that seems to be gay is singled out as the worst of the torturers, further contributing to the filmic stereotype of homosexual as homicidal.
One should also note the historical context of the film. This is an American movie, about torturing people, made at a time when America, right or wrong, is receiving flak for torturing prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, and makes no mention of the current world situation.
It's also worth noting that the audience I watched this picture with cheered and applauded at each new horror. It all seemed so Circus Maximus.
3 backpackers are in Amsterdam where they get locked out of their youth hostel. They are invited into a man's house where he tells them of a hostel somewhere in eastern Europe where the women are all incredibly hot and have a taste for American men. When they get there, everything is too good to be true - the hostel is "to die for"
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August 05, 2016 at 02:05 AM