Ryan Saylor’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've watched this film a number of times now. Probably 8 or 9 times over the years. Most would say twice is too many. Some would say once is too many. But I really do adore this film and I'm going to try to concisely state once and for all why.
Yeah sure it's got all the horrible things you've been warned about but honestly it's good you were warned in advance so now you can appreciate what else happens and why.
This film is about evil and destruction and control and power dynamics and sexism and emotional abuse and so much more all at once. It takes elements of stress dreams and puts them here and there for good measure. And yeah, it's quite graphic. The film is an assault on everything we hold dear. But why?
The why is key. Even people that love this film are sometimes just edgelords that want to see fucked up stuff and I dislike them just as much as those dismissing this film for its content.
What is the director trying to say and show with all this? Could it be we're being asked about our dangerous coping mechanisms? Our incessant need for comfort from the opposite sex? Our addiction to physicality? Our inability to understand other humans? Our hopelessness and our inability to reach out when we need to?
Yeah. And a bunch more. To either discredit or celebrate this film just because it's graphic is silly. To understand why it's what it is and see what the director is trying to do. That's the stuff I like to see. And yeah if you sit with all of the dozen of questions this film asks (I promise I merely scratched the surface) and you come back and decide the substance didn't justify the style, that's fine. I understand.
All I'm saying is. This film had so much to love. I think even a detractor could admit the film oozes with style from its slow-mo painting-esque moments and that the acting is INCREDIBLE. I think a detractor could admit that the handheld cinematography throughout is intentional and impressive. I think a detractor could admit the ideas on display here are fascinating and original. But I just think there's even more than that.
Try the film again. Or don't. I've said my piece.