The Ferryman (2007)

I sometimes feel like the title of this website diminishes the vehemence of some of the reviews, in some way. Like readers will think, well, she hates everything, so this film must be at least slightly better than her review makes it out to be. If that's the case, it's a shame, and for the purpose of this review, we should all pretend that the site's called Sarah Loves Fluffy Kittens And Shiny Things. This movie deserves everything I'm about to say, and more.

The Ferryman is easily in the top 5 worst movies I have ever been stupid enough to sit through in my entire life. In fact, I think it takes the #2 spot.

The film opens with a raspy, childlike voice with a very strong New Zealand accent outlining the mythology the plot is based upon. It's actually a fairly sound concept: in order to escape death, an entity has discovered a way to leap between bodies, swapping out the resident soul/personality/mind/whatever with its own. The eponymous ferryman is a rough approximation of Charon, lurking out on the water and waiting to ferry the errant soul onwards to, presumably, Hades. When a yacht bound for Fiji answers a distress call, the crew unwittingly brings on board the spirit's current incarnation, and the initially interesting concept is promptly buried under a pile of stupidity.

There's so much wrong with this movie that it's dificult to know where to start. The acting is uniformly awful, with any number of perplexing accents going on - the skipper seems to be from South London, John Rhys Davies is supposed to be Greek but sounds Welsh, the American couple sound anything but American, and the Maori guy doesn't really have any accent going on at all. Considering the later atrocities against the acting profession committed by this cast, though, the inability to pronounce words with a consistent accent is a minor flaw. The direction is barely competent. The editing, however, is decidedly incompetent. One scene clearly shows a character starting music playing before getting into a fight, but when the (poorly choreographed) fight switches into slow motion (not clever, given the budget special effects) the diagetic music continues to play at normal speed, even when the characters are speaking in slow motion. Then, abruptly, the scene moves back into normal time, and the music disappears altogether. Did no-one bother watching this film at any point in the production?

Quite apart from the technical shortcomings, there's also the fact that the script is moronic. There's quite a lot of fun to be had with body-swapping and/or possession in movies, but the creators of The Ferryman eschewed any subtlety or cleverness in favour of unleashing a meglomaniacal wisecracking villain who merrily starts attacking people as soon as he's installed in a new body. There's really not a lot of room for mystery there. The ending also turns most of the film into a plothole - if the ferryman will only take a dead person who has the correct fare, then wouldn't it be easier to just forget to bring any ancient Greek coins with you? Magic daggers and bodyswapping seems a little bit excessive, all things considered.

If the thought of yet another wisecracking mass-murderer makes you cringe, brace yourself: it gets worse. He's also a rampant misogynist, actually explaining at one point that he's killing off the men (or, at least, working his way through each of their bodies in fairly quick succession) because women are easier to control. There are also at least two rape scenes in this movie, both of which are violent and disturbing with plenty of gratuitous nudity. Actually, both of the rapes are gratuitous, serving no purpose other than to establish, 'hey, this guy's evil' - something which had been made fairly obvious when he first maimed and then killed a dog.

Having a misogynistic character in a film doesn't necessarily mean that the film itself is misogynistic, but in this case, the script does nothing to offset the sexism. Only when the spirit has run out of male options does it venture into a female body, and it's in this guise that it is finally defeated - although not until after there's been some gratuitous faux-lesbianism - and that's probably only because someone thought the sound of a woman screaming was preferable to that of a man screaming. Or because they figured there needed to be more rape and lesbianism.

The film ends with a scene in which the Last Girl picks up a man at a bar in order to kill him off and steal his body for her boyfriend, which I can barely even muster energy to talk about because it's so stupid, not to mention offensive, and then the credits roll to the sound of a fucking awful cover of Chris De Burgh's Don't Pay The Ferryman.

There just isn't a single good thing about this film. There could have been, but in the end, there really, really isn't.

IMDB link

1 comment:

twosheds said...

Will you get off the f***ing fence - do you like it or NOT?