review by Grace X
I'm going to admit right now that when my friend Othello,
who scripted this film (about his namesake, lol), asked me
to review it, I was hesitant. I mean, my relationship with
classic literature and theater is not exactly on the most
scholarly level. To give you an idea, my husband knows I
love movies, and he had the very romantic notion one
year of watching Romeo and Juliet together on our
anniversary. Because it was so sweet of him I went along
with it, but in my secret thoughts I wished we could watch
"The Matrix Reloaded" instead.
So you know where I'm coming from here.
But you know? When I watched R&J (it was the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes version), I amazed
myself by feeling touched by it. I mean, misty-eyed touched. Yeah, the tough killer bitch Grace, reaching
for a hankie.
So I told O I would do the review. I settled in, watched "Othello 011"...and it was beautiful.
This is not a word I associate with sex/death videos, I'll tell you that. Normally here we're talking about
stroke flicks (let's call a spade a spade), with heaping quantities of fucking and murder. (I know, I know,
I've never been one to mince words). And that kind of pulpish mayhem is just fine by me. But every now
and again, something reminds me that sex is beautiful, and having a death fetish doesn't have to feel
like a guilty pleasure. That's what this movie did for me.
The storyline is subtle, right from the start. It's not a literal playing out of the Shakespeare
scene...instead it's about two young actors who have decided to end it all, but they are very much in
love, and want to go out with a beautiful death. So we have actors (Belle and Nick), playing actors, who
in turn will take on the roles of Othello and Desdemona. That takes some skill to pull off. But I believed
the performances utterly.
Nick and Belle are tender with one another...they hug, they kiss with what feels like real emotion. In
some moments Belle seems a little fragile, and Nick is steady and loving -- her man, being there for her.
They speak briefly together as the two young actors, after which they speak only lines from
Shakespeare. Not too wordy or overwhelming...just some brief, lovely exchanges.
Then they have sex. I'm going to overuse this word, but the sex is beautiful. I mean, it's not chaste, don't
get me wrong. It's graphic and incredibly hot.
And even more than that...it felt intimate. That's another word I don't associate with movies in this
genre. Belle and Nick go from graceful to fierce to intense to gentle. It didn't seem like fucking. It
seemed like making love.
Afterward, they're ready to finish their death-pact. And it is clear they both want this. No hint of perp and
victim here. These two want dying to be just as intimate as making love was. Belle picks up a nylon that
she wants to be strangled with, caresses it a little, then gets set up on the bed. Nick wraps the nylon
around her throat, tightens it slowly, then enough to cut off her breathing, and holds it there steady and
strong. It's the most perfectly filmed fantasy strangle I've ever seen. Erotic, yes, and poignant too. It's an
act of love, and its amazing how well this emotion is sustained. You'd swear sometimes her eyes are
looking at heaven.
When she's dead, he kisses her softly, and lets her fall onto the bed. He then makes love to her body,
and this too is touching and passionate and beautiful. He wants her in death as much as he did in life.
Finally he arranges her in a dignified way on the bed, picks up his own knife, and says Othello's words,
which are very moving, about "dying on a kiss". He stabs himself, gives her a final kiss with the last of
his strength, and dies too.
Wow. I've heard the term "transcending the medium" used to refer to artistic works that go beyond all
expectations. To my mind, "Othello 011" does exactly that.
(Note: stick around for after the credits too...there are a few short clips of Belle and Nick kidding around
and laughing during the filming...they made me smile, and I thought they were a great little addition).
Bottom line? This is a special film. I'm going to watch it when I want to feel good about my death
fetish...when I want to feel sexy and loved for having this fantasy. Chris, Othello, Belle and Nick, that is
GRACE X's RATING: Comments for Grace X?
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