DESPAIR

1 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 34 minutes
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The title says it all, kids. There’s more despair here than you can shake a middle finger at. “Despair” is yet another shot on video borefest where a budding filmmaker has decided that having someone simply sitting around their house having a shitty day is the basis for a good film. And it’s not a very well illustrated shitty day either. The male character, Christopher, seriously just sits around staring into space. I understand that this guy is at the end of his rope, but we as a viewing audience need something to look at as well. We need help in feeling this guy’s pain. Watching him loaf around to the tune of some creepy synth just doesn’t cut it. Not to mention that it isn’t shot very well. Jorg Buttgereit made something like this with “Der Todesking” but managed to keep it interesting with creative camera work. That and film always looks better than video anyways.
This is how it goes. We kinda start out with a bang as we see Yvette, Chris’ wife, sitting on the floor naked, surrounded by candles. She spits up a bloody razorblade, rubs the blood around on her boobs and then lies down on the floor. Not bad, but this scene goes on for something like five minutes. I think it lost its appeal after the first two.
Then we take a step back earlier in the day as we watch Chris crumpling up a drawing he was working on. He then gets on the phone and moans to his wife for a little bit about how life sucks and how his work just isn’t appreciated. He then gets off the horn and sits around on the couch for a while before things really kick into high gear. After shooting his mouth full of whip cream, he pulls open a kitchen drawer and takes out a stack of bills, laying them out neatly before him. We then cut to another angle of Chris picking up the bills and placing them back into the drawer. Exciting stuff. Finally, Chris decides to soak in the tub while sucking down a bottle of pills. I definitely could feel this scene. If my life were that dull, I’d kill myself too.
Later on, Yvette comes home to find Chris dead in the bathtub. Now it’s her turn to sit around and lament. She mopes on the couch for a while, flashing back to shots of a smiling Chris, before popping in a videotape of her and her husband rolling around in bed together. She starts feeling herself up as she disrobes. I guess she feels that a little masturbation would help break up the boredom. She then cuts his head out of a picture and places it on a little alien doll, so she can talk to him for a little bit…while lying around in bed moping. She then pads around the house naked for a while before we’re finally back to the scene that we opened up with. Fortunately, we don’t have to watch the whole thing again. Instead, we cut from her popping the razorblade into her mouth to her waking up on the floor bloodied. She slowly wanders into the bathroom where she climbs into the tub and cuts her wrist.
As we cut to various shots about the house there’s a little bit of outro narration that goes like this, “Life isn’t what you make of it, it’s what it makes of you. Bills pile up, buildings fall. There is no justice. Only despair.” Boo-hoo. So this guy killed himself, dragging his wife down with him, because he couldn’t hack getting a real job to pay the bills? What an infantile sob story.
Simply calling this film boring wouldn’t have done it justice. This is why I gave you a near play-by-play account of what transpires in “Despair” so that you can judge for yourself.



Posted on February 20, 2002 in Reviews by
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