Hounds of Love

Hounds of Love ★★

Ben Young is undeniably a talent to watch going forward, but his debut is an undercooked, blandly tasteless exercise in torture.

Though the first half feints towards an interesting twist on its chosen genre exercise, making jabs at dissecting gender roles and abusive relationships. Unfortunately, Young seems to lose interest in these ideas as his films rolls onto the inevitable conclusion, not including the necessary beats to make the various threads work.

So what we're left with is a fairly rote genre exercise that looks absolutely gorgeous for reasons that are beyond me. This is perhaps the first time I've wished a film were uglier, because Young's beautiful composition (inadvertently?) ends up aestheticising naturalistic torture. Whereas someone like Refn is able to fetishise violence by distorting it into abstraction, Young simply frames violence (or the suggestion thereof) with such a delicate touch that it feels like he wants us to enjoy it - all without ever attempting to entrench us in the POV of his villains. And while the idea of Young getting off on this stuff could result in a fascinating film, the psychology presented is too trite and dull to be worthy of that distinction.

Young certainly has talent, I just wish he'd apply his eye to something better.

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