Saturday, March 15, 2014

Art hurts: American Mary

The Soska Sisters will be at Crypticon Seattle this year, so I finally got around to watching American Mary. Full disclosure: I've been a Katherine Isabelle fan for years, so I've been excited to watch this movie, I just haven't had time.

I shouldn't have waited. American Mary is brutally beautiful. Yes, it is bloody and yes, some of the acting is harsh, but those elements actually add to the joy of the film. The poor acting, particularly from the men in the film, serves as a reminder of just how fake many people are in real life. Let's face it, far too many of us spend way too much time pretending to be people were are not. In a film with body modification at its center, the attention to inner falsity is particularly powerful.

Isabelle is a gem in this starring role. She captures the tension within a struggling med school student and the guilt of a rape victim. She solidifies Mary Mason as an anti-hero. She's killing people, but do we blame her? She's smart and beautiful; we believe her as a person. Maybe she falls into the underground a bit easier than is reasonable, but Isabelle sells it.

My favorite supporting role is that of Beatress (Tristan Risk). The make-up on her face turns her into a plastic pastiche of starlets past. Her voice is the delicate squeak of Ellen Greene from Little Shop of Horrors. The difficultly is in deciding whether she is beautiful or not. She's idealized to the point beyond beauty and into freakishness (which is the whole idea).

Just to recap: the Soska Sisters, writers-directors of American Mary, will be at Crypticon. I'm looking forward to meeting them.

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