The Book Of Revelation

 
Directed by: Ana Kokkinos
Written by:Ana Kokkinos, Andrew Bovell
Starring: Tom Long, Greta Scacchi, Colin Friels, Deborah Mailman, Tamara Searle, Anna Torv
Released: September 7, 2006
Grade: C+

The Book Of Revelation will be one of the more controversial releases of 2006.  Daniel (Long) is a dancer who is kidnapped by three masked women.  They chain him to a warehouse floor and sexually abuse him for roughly two weeks.  This is graphically shown in the film and hence it’s R rating here in Australia.

The three women eventually release Daniel but the experience leaves him a changed man.  He wants to find the women who did this to him but this will prove almost impossible since he never saw their faces.  Why is it that he wants to find them?  He never reported what happened to the police.  Does he want to get revenge and see them brought to justice?  Or was he strangely turned on by the experience and wants to know more about these women?

As curiously erotic as the film sounds, I was bored from the outset.  The dialogue, particularly at the start of the film, is incredibly stiff.  When I saw this film at the Brisbane International Film Festival, director Ana Kokkinos was asked why the conversations were so short on words and her response was that she was trying to show how isolated the characters were.  Well if that’s the case, then Kokkinos has overdone it.

Another annoying element of the film is that Daniel has a girlfriend who we meet at the start of the film.  If you think you can recognise either the eyes or the voice of one of the masked women then you’re spot on - it’s the same actress who plays the girlfriend.  Couldn’t they afford another actor?  I was extremely frustrated because it gives the impression that the girlfriend is involved when in fact she’s not.

The original novel, written by Rupert Thomson in 1999, is set in Amsterdam.  Given that it’s been put together by an Australian production team, Melbourne becomes the new setting.  It’ll be interesting to see how the film is received by Aussie audiences when released this week.  The French film Irreversible was almost banned in this country because an explicit scene in which a man raped a woman.  Is this film different because of the gender reversal?  Is it easier to watch a man getting raped by a woman on screen?  If you see it with friends, it’ll certainly provide some post-movie discussions.

Kokkinos last major film was 1998’s Head On with Alex Dimitriades.  It too was controversial but the plot and its characters were more intriguing.  Tom Long deserves a pat on the back for taking on the gutsy leading role but that’s as far my admiration goes for The Book Of Revelation.