Saturday, 3 March 2012

Michael, dir/wr. Markus Schleinzer, st. Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger

There are three scenes in Markus Schleinzer's disturbing and powerful film where we may be privy to the faintest traces of what Michael himself might make of his pedophiliac tendencies, and he's only in two of them. This might understandably feel like cheating; preserve the complexity of such a man, refrain from exposing the mechanics lest it invokes sympathy. Yet is the illustration of compulsion shown with greater severity in something like Steve McQueen's Shame (sex-addiction) or Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas (alcoholism)? In both those films the genesis of the characters' ailments are similarly merely alluded to, yet we feel there is something in the nature of child-abuse that warrants, that necessitates deeper investigation. It is not to be found in Michael. What we do see is a film that explores alienation and loneliness as much as the crime itself. Frustratingly, and muddying already cloudy waters, we see Michael tend to and care for his victim as much as we see (or rather infer) the inhuman abuse taking place. There is a monstrous bond between them and we discover Stockholm Syndrome might apply as much to the abductor as to the abducted. It might not answer questions, but it drives home with cold and whispered devastation the abyssal psychosis of the disorder.