Eden Lake

If you’ve seen Hunger, you can understand why I feel such allegience to Michael Fassbender. He’s outrageously talented and I look forward to all of his films. His upcoming project with Neil Marshall is particularly exciting. I haven’t gone through his back catalog yet however. And I should. So when my friend Miss Topanga from Breathing Movies reviewed the film Eden Lake, and recommended it, I rented it post haste.

Eden Lake is a remake of a French film called Them.  I haven’t seen Them, and now I probably will not.  Fassbender plays a man named Steve, whos’ taking his girlfriend Jenny (Kelly Reilly) to a secluded lake for a weekend to propose.  A particularly cruel group of teens and preteens create tension between Steve, Jenny and the gang.  It escalates quickly to violence, and the children, not seeing a way out, decide to kill the two and cover it up.  The rest of the film is a ‘will they escape or won’t they’ cat and mouse game.

This theme in film has become prevalent recently.  Films like Them, of course, and The Strangers come to mind.  Michael Haneke seems to have started it all with his film Funny Games.  But where Haneke’s talent comes in building tension while keeping the majority of the violence off screen, director James Watkins decided that in Eden Lake it’d be best to show it all.  In a particularly disturbing scene, a nine year old shoves a box cutter in Steve’s mouth and wiggles it around for a while.  This comes off a lack of confidence in Watkins’ ability to create and sustain tension.  Of which, there wasn’t much.  Sure, I cringed, and made sounds of disgust during the torture and violence, but I didn’t particularly care what happened to Jenny and Steve as their characters were not developed.  The outcome of the entire situation seemed completely clear a third of the movie in.  Which also took away from any sense of intrigue concerning the plot.

Fassbender’s performance was quite good, as was Reilly’s.  But without a sound story and direction behind these performances, the film logs and uninteresting entry in the torture porn genre, and actually would have benefited from some sort of political subtext or moral finger wagging.

★★☆☆

Comments
6 Responses to “Eden Lake”
  1. Harriet says:

    It sounds like one of those films which is made just for the violence to be honest, and the violence sounds horrific! I know what you mean about not giving a damn about the characters because they aren’t developed properly though, it sucks when that happens cos it means you can’t get into the film properly.
    Harriet´s last blog post ..Sell Your Mobile

  2. Blake says:

    @ Harriet – The violence definitely was horrific. I don’t recommend you watch it!

  3. Harriet says:

    I definatley won’t be!
    Harriet´s last blog post ..Sell Your Mobile

  4. Melechesh says:

    I can’t remember the last time a film evoked such raw emotions in me. I’m literally teared up and shaking – from anger, pain, frustration and disbelief. Watching this film is an experience more than words can describe, it plays on pure emotion. You’re sucked into the whole atmosphere, to the characters – both the good and the bad -, and it really eats you up and leaves you with this bundle of emotions that catch you off guard and in the end, leave you empty-handed.

  5. Thomas Turgoose who also played in this film is a local boy which is why I watched this film, after watching ‘Eden Lake’ I did a bit of research on Michael Fassbender, I’ve just watched ‘Hunger’ and, well……WHAT AN ACTOR, he played Steve in ‘Eden Lake’ so well, I was almost trying to break into the TV screen to help him, yes he is that good. this film is not for the faint hearted but if you can stomach it, watch it, you won’t want to see it again but you will (if that makes sense).
    David Sanderson´s last blog post ..Christmas in Bedsit Land

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