Sunday, January 21, 2024

Punishment (2024) Slamdance 2024

Four inmates in Norway take part in a three week silent retreat.

This is one of the best films playing at Slamdance this year. It's also the first feature film to go into my notes as something to revisit at the end of the year.  

Simply put I love this film. I love the people. And I love the ideas it throws up. It's an unexpected journey into our hearts of darkness and out again.

What makes the film so powerful is that the film never really looks away. We are with the men as they sit and think and contemplate what they did and where they are going. Working with some Jesuit priests they have come to a place where they are willing to do the work that could very well change their lives. All is laid bare, and we are moved both emotionally and intellectually.  

By the time the film ended all I could do was lean back and go wow. The quiet power of the final moments haunts me still some three weeks after I saw the film.

You will forgive me if I don't do a great deal of discussing of the film. It is not that there is nothing to say, but rather there is too much. The film kicked up a great deal in me and I have been wrestling with things that the film forced me to think about. I have tried several times to write this piece but each time any lengthy discussion ends up with a lengthy digression. That is not fair to you or the filmmakers, who have made one hell of a film that forces us to engage with ourselves, our pasts and our future.

Highly recommended, this is one of the must sees at Slamdance.

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