Most helpful positive review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2007
Very interesting film, which in its tone and camerawork reminds me a lot of 'I Spit on Your Grave' - it has that same edgy, subjective, almost documentary-style look to it which really adds to the overall effect (and a similar lack of soundtrack, which make some of the action sequences almost surreal). I call this a mix of Sam Peckinpah and Ingmar Bergman - it has a very bleak, sombre mood and very minimal dialogue. No big cityscapes, no exotic deserts here - instead we're taken on a tour of low-key Swedish housing estates, barren countryside that looks a lot like the North of Scotland. The terriffic harbour scene with Madeleine getting shot up by an unseen assailant is almost pure Sergio Leone, and is the coolest sequence in the film. (The only scene cooler is one that doesn't appear in this cut - the 'alternate' version of the warehouse shootout has her shedding her long coat and launching into some spectacular slow-mo kung-fu kicks - pretty damn good for Sweden, 1974!)
The only scene which doesn't work for me at all is the most notorious one. The shot of the wide open eye is far, far too long to be credible (even brutalised people on heroin don't stare unblinkingly up at a scalpel that's about to be plunged through their eyeball) - it should have been a lot shorter, but the shock value is definitely there. I couldn't watch it first time around. The XXX scenes are pretty disposable too, but at least by objectifying the body parts they make the whole business look as mechanical and sordid as it is, and enhance the downbeat tone.
Only real fault I can find is that some of the scenes could have been trimmed, tightened up at the editing stage. Too much time spent lingering on people doing not very much. Lots of random driving around towards the end, which feels a bit flabby (and lots of cars which decide to blow up for no reason) - 'French Connection' it ain't, but all in all I would really recommend this to any fan of dark revenge/exploitation movies.
I only ever watch foreign movies with the subtitles on, so I can't comment on the dubbing, but the extras are very good. Lots of great stills, some superb shots of Madeleine looking very stylish with her shotgun. And the animated menus are a hoot!
And yes, this inspired 'Kill Bill'. I walked out of that after 20 minutes, but I know I will watch this little classic again. Get it while you can 'cos this version's limited to 25,000.