Friday, October 17, 2008

The Mother of Tears-Review (Not for the Squeemish)

Argento's movie, "The Third Mother" is just disturbing and a joy ride through Purgatory and the gates of Hell. Not my favorite of his, but this movie still hit the mark when it came to giallo.

Essentially the movie is about a museum curator assistant, played by Asia Argento (Dario's daughter), who opens a mysterious urn. You can probably guess this urn held the spirit of the Third Mother, the Mother of Tears. I love the shot. Asia's character goes into the other room while the curator is still in the room with the urn. Quickly, probably 2 seconds if that, you see a black figure with a greenish yellow eye. The whole room shakes and then three demons and a monkey (really creepy, seriously) descend upon the poor curator. Now this is the true start of the giallo. The demons disembowel her and choke the rest of the life out of her with her own intestines. A truly gruesome shot. Asia returns to the room but sees the demons and runs. The demons didn't see her but the monkey chases her through the corridors. That damn little monkey is really the scariest live creature in the film. It was brilliant! It was an even better actor than some of the humans in there. It just reeked of evilness with its facial expressions.
Anyway, the rest of the film is about Asia's character running from the witches from all around the world who are coming to see the Third Mother in Rome. With the arrival of the Third Mother, Rome is in a state of chaos. You hear a news anchor say there were over 50 suicides in the city. The next scene cuts to a mother walking with her baby in the stroller on a bridge. The mother picks up her baby and then flings it over. Before you register what you saw, it cuts again to a busy street with people beating each other and destroying cars. It cuts one more time with the Third Mother sitting at a table. A young boy is laid across it, dead. She reaches into his stomach and pulls out an organ and bites into it. I choked.

Rome was a good choice for the setting. The city is beautifully shown along with some of its countryside. Udo Kier, who I mentioned in an earlier blog, plays a priest who is also an exorcist. People possessed lined the courtyard where he lived and he says he's never done as many exorcisms as he's done that day in his whole life. Poor Asia sees one of the possessed attack him with a meat cleaver and mutilate his face before she slits her own throat.

Udo Kier in his last moments in the film.

Really, the whole movie ends in that vein (no pun intended). There were a lot of shocking moments that made me jump and avert my eyes. This movie is not for the squeemish and easily grossed out. Extreme violence is the norm in any giallo film. The only thing I wished for was better CGI and the more surreal look that "Suspiria" had. "Mother" was the most realistic of the three. It didn't convey that feeling like you were in Wonderland with demons and evil people chasing you because they were going to torture you and eat you alive.

I liked this one though. It was a good film to see before Halloween.

No comments: