Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Alexandra's Project (2003)



Reviews and Comments

Some bad movies are badly made. Others are badly conceived. Alexandra's Project falls into the latter category. It is made with great skill and talent. It is made with considerable insight into human nature. But to what end?

It is, essentially, torture porn without the violence and gore. I wish I could appreciate how the film uses primarily just dialogue, languidly paced at that, to achieve its effect, but I can't. Through 90 excruciating minutes, we see a man punished by his wife cruelly and thoroughly. And that's it. When her cruelty is complete, the movie ends. What was this movie made for? It is obvious that the makers of this film have some insights into relationships. Alas, these insights are only used to ground the cruelty and suffering in reality. There is no real purpose being served.

I suppose defenders of the film could try to position it as a morality play or a revenge tale. The former would carry intellectual weight, and the latter, crude as it is, has provided the movies with many escapist pleasures in the past. I admit that the victim in this film is not a good man. But the film isn't about his transgressions; they are merely a springboard for the woman's grotesquely disproportionate retribution. She, frankly, is not fit to live. It is not so much the extent of the pain she inflicts that is so disgusting, although indeed it is. It is the considerable labor she puts into inflicting it.

Worst of all, the movie seems to side with her. Husbands drive their wives to such extremes, a third character says in a scene near the end. Idiocy. This is the logical equivalent of "The devil made me do it." But the movie seems to believe, wholeheartedly, that if you have a problem in a relationship, you then have free license to be cruel to the limits of your imagination -- even if it means hurting the kids in the process. Here's an idea. How about just leave?

This is one of those rare movies that I truly regret having seen. With most bad movies, no matter how torturous, I am glad to have seen them. By having seen them, I have learned something about movie history. I have the opportunity to write new reviews. In many cases, even the worst of movies have individual elements that can be appreciated. But after this movie, I simply felt depressed and angry and no constructive way to channel those emotions. I felt damaged.