My review is for the uncut version of the film,as the BBFC have chopped this one to bits.I recently bought this version off Amazon for the bonus features and to see what has been cut.It's not good.I was under the impression there would be just some slight trimming here and there(I had been on a website that compared both versions),but this is not the case.Some scenes have been shortened so much that their impact is greatly reduced,to the point in which they may aswell have been removed entirely(specifically the notorious baby scene and the one in which Milos is watching the filmed death of Laylah on the camcorder.In this version,the former scene is trimmed so much so that without Vukmir shouting "Newborn Porn" you wouldn't have assumed the baby was molested,as not enough is shown to even imply this).This makes me really angry,as legions of casual film fans who see this on a shelf in HMV and think it looks interesting,will judge this film on the version they see(and don't forget there is still a warning on the back of the sleeve,thus the content will be unfairly judged as it is not in it's complete format).....the good thing though is that in the spoken introduction the director informs us that this version is actually cut,so people know there is more to this film if they want to seek out the full version.
Before I talk about the film,I would just like to say a few things about the BBFC.Ahem......MOVIE CENSORSHIP IS NOW COMPLETELY REDUNDANT....HELLO PEOPLE....EVER HEARD OF THE INTERNET???!!!!!By heavily censoring a film,you are just going to make people like me more determined to track it down uncut....and it really isn't difficult nowadays!The whole process is so arbitrary,it makes me laugh.For example,when "Ichi The Killer" was first released on these shores,I think something like three or four minutes was cut.It was mostly all the violence towards women-which is fair enough.There was a warning on the sleeve for the films' content and it created a lot of controversy.I can understand all of this.What I CAN'T understand is why,then,would they not object to a film like "Irreversible"(which contains the most savage and prolongued rape/murder I have ever seen on film)?The only warning sign on it's box is for the strobe lighting!Hilarious!!!!Good work BBFC!!!!
Anyway,onto "A Serbian Film".I really didn't have high expectations for this movie because so many of the reviews on the net made it sound like a crummy exploitation film.A film in which the story existed only to drive the carnage.I am really glad I watched it for myself,I found the film to be utterly gripping from start to finish.I don't know how anyone could argue that it isn't a highly immersive movie,there aren't many films I have EVER seen where I have felt such a feeling of imprisonment,where you feel you are trapped in this situation with the main character.Indeed,even after the film had finished,this feeling took a while to shake off.I really felt for Milos aswell,which was another pleasant surprise(some reviewers made it sound like there were no "human" characters in the film),he is a very likeable guy.Down on his luck and just trying to do what's best for his family,he has no idea what he is getting into!
As a massive fan of extreme cinema and someone who actively seeks out repulsive subject matter I am probably not the best person to judge the stronger scenes!But I will say that this film is definitely rough going in places(particularly the horrible ending)and obviously not for those of a weak disposition.A lot of scenes however,sound a lot worse than they actually are.For example,my friend was reading about the film(knowing I had seen it)and when he read about the baby scene,he gave me a very funny look!Of course,when I said it sounds a lot worse than it is,he stared at me even longer!!!!!But it's really true.A previous reviewer likened the scene to something you would see in a Troma film and I couldn't agree more,it is not as bad as it could have been(I am not complaining here,it's bad enough!).Personally,I found the end of the French film "Inside" much,much harder to endure.
Anyway,to conclude,"A Serbian Film" is definitely shocking,disturbing and even downright vile in places,but it is also an original,well-written,impeccably acted and highly engaging story.If you are not turned-off by challenging subject matter,I highly recommend it.