April 29, 2009 Leave a Comment
(2008) dir. Oliver Blackburn
Only a notch or so above loathsome, Donkey Punch is a British thriller about a bunch of hot-bodied twenty-somethings partying in Majorca, Spain, as young Brits are known to do. But on a yacht, amid ecstasy and crack and general orgy, one of the naive young men administers a “donkey punch” that kills his partner. I’ll let you follow the Wikipedia entry for that definition, if you aren’t familiar with it. I wasn’t. Honest injun.
While this movie then moves into a sort of Dead Calm on the Mediterranean and nubile youngsters, the film’s biggest flaw is its lack of humanity or ability to develop any characters that one can care about. It’s easy enough to see who the survivor will be, the “good” one, the “nice” girl. But beyond that, it’s hard to fathom the reality of the situation.
Now, I say that, but it does ring of the truly loathsome story of Natalee Holloway, a teenager who disappeared while on holiday in Aruba, and though no one has been charged with the crime (not enough evidence apparently), it looks as though some wealthy Dutch guy and friends probably killed her and dumped her body. This is only to say that there is a scenario where people do horrible things and could enlist friends to help.
However, the ever-heightening situation on the boat in Donkey Punch, seems false. It takes characters that are middle class English men and women and suggests that a-morality and lack of conscience is the commonality rather than the anomaly. I think, given a situation such as this, with people voicing oppositional thinking about the choices, that it would be hard for four guys and two girls to not decide to be honest and “do the right thing”.
While the movie is executed decently, it’s an unlikable thing at best. And while I am projecting an aspect of morality against its characters, it’s not just that. It’s a genre thriller that plays upon a Survivor-like mentality, which means that it really does play upon the reality or believability of the characters as creatures of moral judgment and responsibility. For one to believe that they can discard these characteristics because of self-interest, you have to make the whole thing a bit more real.
While it’s not the worst film you could ever see, it’s really something that I recommend avoiding. It’s lame and a bit disheartening. And not clever at all.