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This review is from: Ms. 45 ( Angel of Vengeance ) ( Rape Squad (Ms. Forty Five) ) (DVD)Director Abel Ferrara already had a reputation for shocking audiences in 1982, when this film was made, with his portrayal of a man's descent into madness in 'Driller Killer'.
This time he turns the tables on us with the story of a young, mute, female seamstress named Thana - effectively played by Zoe Tamerelis (now Lund) - who's own descent into madness is triggered by two successive rapes at the hands of a sidewalk sleazeball wearing a mask (played by Ferrara in a cameo) and an opportunistic burglar.
After despatching the burglar with some heavy blows from a paperweight and an iron she drags his body into the bathtub before collapsing onto the floor as the realisation of her torment begins.
Though categorized within the rape/revenge genre, alongside 'Last House on the Left' (1972) and 'I Spit on Your Grave' (1978), this film differs from others of it's ilk by not dwelling on the rape scenes too long. Instead, the rest of the film concentrates on Thana's increasing madness as she tries to dispose of the dead mans body parts whilst holding down her job at The Garment Centre in Manhatten.
Clearly handicapped by her inability to speak and continually harassed within the sleazy downtown locations by all manner of slimeballs, she reverts to her weapon of retribution, gunning down a succession of men (from pimps to photographers) with the burglars .45 pistol.
Her torment is not helped by the advances of her boss, Albert (Albert Sinkys) who reiterates her fragile mental state when suggesting she is not normal due to her handicap.
All this and the interferance of her elderly landlady and her dog, who takes a particular interest in the contents of her fridge, result in a bloody shootout at a works party.
Ferrara's direction is good, using the sleazy backstreets of NYC to maximum effect and uping Thana's confused sexuality with increasingly provocative outfits and makeup.
More of a study of the after effects of rape than the study of rape itself, this is a worthwhile film within it's contoversial genre and the French import disc present's it beautifully in widescreen with English mono and Dolby 5.1 surround sound.