In a culture—both cinema-going together with inward full general—that increasingly rejects intellectualism, in that location’s something refreshing well-nigh a pic where a cardinal plot betoken revolves around a graphic symbol’s power to accurately appraise a slice of ancient Greek sculpture. “A Wounded Fawn” is a cinema that celebrates fine art and fine art history, ane that reaches dorsum across the millennia for inspiration in addition to pulls out symbolism that yet resonates today. You tin telephone call it pretentious if you lot must. But don’t phone call it stuffy.
The third film from author/director Travis Stevens (“Jakob’s Wife,” “Girl on the Third Floor”) is forged inward fire and blood, taking his middle for hit visuals as well as elevating it to psychedelic new heights. Stevens’ principal aesthetic measure for “A Wounded Fawn” is ‘70s grindhouse movie theater, with all its grit, grain, as well as fraught sex politics. This is crossed alongside the intense pools of brilliant colour popularized past Dario Argento, in addition to combined amongst the grotesque sensibilities of Francisco Goya’s “Black Paintings.” The combined effect is 1 of feverish hallucination.
The driving emotion behind all of this inward-your-face up manner is anger—specifically, women’s righteous fury towards misogynist forces of violence in addition to oppression. These are embodied in the grade of Bruce (Josh Ruben), a seemingly squeamish guy well-nigh whom museum curator Meredith (Sarah Lind) is feeling actually proficient after a handful of dates. The audience knows that Bruce is bad news when Meredith agrees to accompany him upstate for a romantic weekend inwards the state: In a common cold open up, nosotros’ve already seen Bruce stem and slash an art dealer inwards pursuit of “The Wrath of the Erinyes,” a very onetime slice of sculpture depicting the three Furies of Greek mythology. Now nosotros’re just waiting for Meredith to catch upwardly.
A misogynistic psycho murdering a adult female to have possession of a statue representing feminine rage is symbolically loaded to the indicate of existence on the olfactory organ. Luckily, the revenge is but as brazen. In its showtime half, “A Wounded Fawn” unfolds similar a smart, but not especially groundbreaking serial-killer thriller. In its 2d, it spins out into something surreal as well as unexpected as Bruce receives supernatural comeuppance for his many crimes. This, of course of instruction, is satisfying to lookout man. But what makes it actually interesting is that it’s never clear to what extent these howling harpies are coming from Bruce’s ain listen.
At the motion-picture show’s midpoint, the tone shifts from lean in addition to nasty to bombastic in addition to grandiose. The mythological entities that have got so far hovered in the background of the storey plow into flesh-and-blood characters as the three Furies—Tisiphone, Alecto, too Megaera—show upward, intoning in thunderous voices most the impairment they’re almost to inflict on this misfortunate waste product of oxygen. Add a human-sized owl, its steampunk acolytes, gallons of cerise-orangish blood, too loads of occult symbolism, and “A Wounded Fawn’s” metamorphosis from a trigger-happy caterpillar into an as violent, but infinitely weirder butterfly is consummate.
At times, the dorsum half of the celluloid comes off similar an avant-garde theater production, or mayhap a bunch of Shakespearean actors high on psychedelics—mean people wrapped in bedsheets soaked inwards false blood running through the woods screaming about wrath. But the moments when “A Wounded Fawn’s” depression-budget seams set out to exhibit don’t ruin the pic. There are a duad of reasons for this: First is Stevens’ clever comprehend of grindhouse aesthetics. Those movies were all held together alongside duct tape, as well, and then the crude edges raise the upshot.
Second is the lead actors’ commitment to their roles. Lind is a strength of nature as Meredith, animated by a divine current of air that pushes her forward alongside the sureness of a Valkyrie on horseback. And Ruben gamely takes his lumps, especially inward an extended credits sequence that perfectly sums up the cinema’s blend of absurdity, audacity, together with righteous anger. In his previous function, Stevens played around alongside genre conventions. Here, he shatters them into a K pieces.