Hounds of Love ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

well, this was hard to watch. stomach-turning little genre piece (feels shorter than its 1 hour 48 min); solid overall, with a few things that stood out... it's about an australian teenager, vicky, who is abducted and tortured by a couple, and most of the violence occurs offscreen, making it exponentially more effective... a shot of two dildos and a pile of bloody tissues lying on the floor is, I'll wager, far more stomach-turning than an actual rape scene would have been. (plus, there's no way to eroticize the dildos and tissues, or the puddle of blood on the floor, as the director might have eroticized her rape, even inadvertently.) it also handles the abusive relationship at its core quite well: though the wife is a victim several times over, she's also an abuser and (it's implied) a rapist and murderer herself, and the film shies away from neither of those facts. I neither pitied nor hated her—or should I say I did both? right away, vicky perceives the dynamic at play, and uses it to her advantage. it's not like she's some kind of mastermind—I think she just sees the truth of this situation the way many or even most women might, as a matter of course. there's no "eureka" moment; just her watchful eyes, or her out-of-focus body in the background of a shot while the couple fights, taking it all in.