Oftentimes, a film accompanied by a reputation that precedes it will disappoint; rarely is it anywhere approaching as extreme as ‘they say’.
The Woman is no exception to the rule, however it is an interesting statement on misogyny, albeit subtle as a sledgehammer. But then, that is probably the intention, considering that this comes to us from Lucky McKee and the dastardly Jack Ketchum.
A short introduction to The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) living her day-to-day life as a wild creature in the woods. Spied by an outwardly respectable father to a nuclear family, it is not long until she is captured, the wife and children having prepared the cellar to hold her, on his gleeful orders. What transpires is a supposed lesson in civilisation, The Woman shackled to the ceiling until she is tamed. Insert blindingly obvious parallel between her animalistic biting and the patriarch’s punches here.
What becomes apparent very quickly is that the female characters in this film are here to serve the males, in any way seen fit. A slight questioning of authority will result in immediate rebuke, and glimpses of the teenage son show him firmly following in his father’s footsteps, enjoying the torment of his female peers. There are also hints at sexual abuse of the daughter of the family, although this feels as if an afterthought rather than a forecast subplot — of which there are no others to be found. A ludicrous climax is the pretender to that throne, but I rather doubt that we are meant to mull over what this throws up for very long with the story in this format.
Interesting as a statement, but does not hold up to repeat viewings. And, harrowing? No. Not at all.
The Woman is available on DVD and Blu-ray from 17 October