Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Visitor (2024) Berlin 2024

A naked migrant appears on the shore of the Thames in suitcase and then ends up in the home of an upper middle class family where he seduces all the members and causes havoc.

Stick a finger your eye film desperately wants to provoke a reaction, though it's derivative plotting and construction is likely to cause frustration and walk outs.  Personally I hope never to have to see the film again.

The problem with the film is it so desperately wants to show it's naughty bits both literally and figuratively (the migrant pisses in to the family's soup, there is graphic sex, and some other things) it loses track of what it wants to say. My reading of the film is that it is both an anti-immigrant screed, with multiple versions of the migrant appearing all over England doing god know what; as well as a take down of society. The problem is its as clear as mud as to what the film is really about and by the time we have the levitating figure and the up out of the wheelchair moment you've long stopped caring.

That the film doesn't work is entirely due to the filmmakers' choices.Aping bits from other, better films such as the Oscar Winning PARASITE (in addition to plot borrows the outside of the house resembles the house in that film), this is a film that is stealing ideas and sections from other better film. I mean pick any of the mini genre films where the intruder from somewhere else comes in and seduces everyone in a household and you essentially have the plot but with more unpleasant flourishes. 

Nay, not unpleasant, unnecessary. The "shocking bits" that are here serve no purpose other than garner the attention of people who want to see shocking things but are too afraid to surf the internet. (No one wants to have certain search terms in their browsing history). The (less than) shocking bits don't need to be seen but could have been implied and gotten the same reaction.

The film feels like it wants to be a mix of early John Waters and Albert Serra but falls flat. The thing is if Waters had made this it would have been fun. As for Serra, a director I dislike, I would happily see his next film rather than see this again because if nothing else you know what Serra's trying to get across.

I honestly don't know what the point of all of this was. Even allowing that so much of this film has been stolen from other films, the messages are so mixed up that I never saw a point. I can forgive pretty much anything if there is a sense that the film has point (or a real story), THE VISITOR has none of that, just a sense it wants to make me "offended"  because it can't do anything else.

(And apologies for not really discussing the politics or idea in the film but frankly, while I could guess at what is trying to be said here, it's partly not worth the effort, and mostly the film is so absent of original ideas that I am not going to waste my time filling the void the director should have filled.)

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