Destricted (2006)
By: Joe Lewis on August 20, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Accent Underground (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 113 minutes
The Movie
Director: Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Marco Brambilla, Larry Clark, Gaspar Noé, Richard Princ, Sam Taylor Wood
Country: USA/UK
External Links
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What the fuck did I just watch?

No, seriously. What the fuck did I just watch? Did I sit down for a few minutes shy of two hours to watch a porno flick where, if the sex doesn't make you jerk it mercilessly (it doesn't; it's about as erotic as a New Zealand Farmers After-Dark Part IV), the nauseating pretension will? Did Gaspar Noé and Larry Clark just helm a hardcore short movie? Not a few seconds of jizz-shots, which could surely be passed off as art in the right circles as they have done in their earlier pictures, but a fuckin' hardcore short film?

But the real challenge for your dear reviewer is to actually bust a nut writing this review, if you'll forgive the pun. Because Destricted is, both superficially and on, uhm, deeper observation – a work of pornography, six short films by directors whom, by and large, should know a whole fuckin' lot better.

There's an option to view the shorts back-to-back, and individually, and they made no sense when viewed in either context. I'll start with the most banal of them – Death Valley, the effort of a young lady by the name of Sam Taylor Wood. Never heard of her? Neither have I, and that's a good thing. Well, the protagonist of Death Valley is an unnamed gentleman who, out in an open field overlooking the titular location, whips it out and jerks off. He lasts a long time. And, as the French would say, fin.

Alrighty, then.

Richard Prince, of, oh yeah, nothing fame, helms House Call, the tale of a repressed housewife who gets the dirty from a bloke – her husband? Her next-door neighbour? Her pool man? Who knows, and, indeed, who cares. What's interesting about this film is that the colour is washed out and grainy ala Grindhouse, presumably an attempt to emulate the aesthetic of seventies porn reels. It's kinda cool for the first, say, thirty seconds, before the only warped appeal House Call possessed is lost in a sea of old-school wrong.

Marina Abramovic directed probably the most interesting of the set, a film titled Balkan Erotic Epic. The film is a bit of an anthropological snippet on sexual rituals undertaken by Balkan peasants, but don't let that fool you – this so called 'erotic epic' plumbs a shocking nadir when seventy-year-old women expose naked vaginas to the sky in a ceremony dedicated to the female form. Fuck you, Abramovic.

By this point I'm pretty tired of this shit, but I continued. Never let it be said that your pal Julian – viewer of all drivel and ready to give the good word on the cinema going public – is unwilling to make sacrifices for your entertainment. 

Matthew Barney. Hoist. Mistake. I'm not acquainted with Barney's work in the slightest, but I hear it's like watching the product of a monkey direct on mescaline. This is no exception. A naked man rubs himself against some lubricated industrial machinery in a fourteen minute sequence that, and God strike me down, had me thinking of Ghost from beginning to end. Take that, Swayze!

Now to the two I actually wanted to see – Larry Clark's Impaled, and Gaspar Noé's We Fuck Alone. Impaled is vaguely reminiscent of an actual film, and Clark (behind the camera) interviews a number of blokes whose ages range from about 19 to mid-twenties about their views on sex and pornography. Seems, though, that Clark's objective is to cast for a porno film and then the actresses come in to audition. And just when I thought Clark was tapping into something deep and meaningful, the copulation starts. Onya, Lazza.

Finally, I Fuck Alone, which, at twenty minutes, is fucking long and is about a guy who plays with himself and a doll before turning nasty. I think it's meant to be a comment on some men's warped perspective of sex, violent masturbatory fantasy… yeah.

Are we done? Yes? Thank Christ.

What's immediately noticeable about Destricted is, obviously, the hardcore sex, and even the more liberal-minded of cinemagoers should have little trouble calling this a porno film. So, contradicting the Board of Classification's 'general rule' for sex in an R18+ classification 'simulated, yes; the real thing, no', and making an utter mockery of decisions that have banned pictures for far less, Destricted scrapes by unscathed with an R18+ rating. I can't figure classifications like this out, at all – I won't even begin to justify the sex here, because it's utter pornography – and Noé's segment has a dark, violent overtone menacing the proceedings. Based on these merits alone, Destricted should have either been slapped with an X18+, or banned. I'm vehemently anti-censorship, but it's interesting to see how things are being run – under Donald McDonald's tenure as chief of the Board of Classification, we've seen a number of decisions that involve hardcore sex being permitted in R18+ rated pictures when, by rights, they shouldn't have been. If that means the laxing of censorship laws, then I'm all for that – but the ban of a film far better (and with considerably more artistic merit) than this one, Pasolini's Salò – goes to show that that's not the case, and inconsistent hypocrisy is the order of the day.

No matter how you dress up (or down, as it were) a movie like this, it's still a porno. And no matter how many film festivals this has played at – the cover slick cites Sundance, Locarno, Cannes, Edinburgh and Amsterdam – it's still a porno. The only people who would seriously even entertain watching something like this are those too embarrassed to go out and get a real 'work of erotic art' or, even more accurate still, a real woman.

Or those, I hasten to add, who had to review it.
1:85:1, with 16:9 enhancement. The picture is very good aside from when it's intentionally poor, but for maximum pleasure, I recommend having your TV off when viewing this DVD.
English Dolby 2.0. Variable. Set the DVD on mute and, coupled with the instructions given in the 'Picture' section, fun times should be had.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Kill me now.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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