PLOT - 4
The plot of Angst is very simplistic but I gave it a high rating because it's simplicity did not derail from the suspense the situation provided. We're essentially watching a man who was born with uncontrollable sadistic urges living his first few days out of prison, and the trouble he quickly finds himself in. And for this one occasion I feel as if the simple plot actually added something to the overall presentation. After all, Michael Myers first scenes were him leaving a mental institution.
Characters - 3
This might actually be the first time I mention characters negatively in a movie. Granted they didn't break the piece, but the supporting cast seemed wooden and forced in many spots. We're supposed to be watching a chilling piece about a blood hungry murderer and it's hard to feel the fear you're portraying when I can't believe that your supporting actor is afraid. Though this is one of those things I need to cut this movie a break for because of it's age. That being said, the characters did damage the delivery a bit, but not so much that the movie was unenjoyable.
Audience retention - 4
This is a very, very suspenseful piece with it's ducks all lined in a nice little row. What I mean to say is our first six minutes of film we are doing nothing but learning about the many reasons why this man getting out of prison is a bad idea. And then, the moment we have it solidified that this person (as tragic as his story could be interpreted) belongs away from the general populous, he's released. I would equate it to watching a man talk about how dangerous his pit bull is before letting it's cage open and leaving the area. I think most people would want to see this until the end because of how well the suspense would built.
Re-watch-ability - 3
I'm starting to realize that this score is directly tied to how good a movie is in an overall sense. After all i wouldn't re watch a movie that I didn't enjoy. I take into account several factors such as how slow does the movie progress, is it more action oriented, and the overall presentation of the film. After watching angst 3 times for the mention I gotta say I never really wanted to stop watching, though I never really wanted to press the play button another time. This movie did very well, not to mention I'm in love with the camera work, but it is a dated piece and many people might find it a bit tasking to sit through this piece more than once. Up to you to decide, i give her a 3
Was I entertained - 4
This movie was entertaining. Not much else to add. There were so many bits and pieces I enjoyed, from the madness of the star to the sound track to the rather unique camera work (especially for the time). There's also a tragic duality to our monstrous anti hero, leaving us wondering how to feel. This I'll talk about more in the summary, but for my overall entertainment score, it's got a 4.
So we understand these pieces are good, but the pieces themselves deserve a look over in order to truly understand the setting and the personal nightmare that is the life of our lead. And we aren't given any time to digest the information before watching this man leave prison. His quick summary at the start of this film gave him all the sadistic, lustful qualities that make a serial killer what he is. But we also hear how many times he asked for help with this terrifying urge, and how many times the people he begged help from gave him none.
This is where much of my feeling for this movie comes. I've still not decided how I feel about our lead. We witness his actions through the movie to be brutal, unrepentant, down right gruesome. But every scene where he is fighting against normal and trying to satiate these uncontrollable urges, I can't help but remember how many times this man asked for help. How many times the system denied him treatment that he may be able to live a normal life, and be safe to the people around him. Still doesn't take away from the fact that this is the same man who stabbed his mother on a kitchen floor many times and left her to die. I still can't help but wonder how this character would have developed with some help, despite how short the movie would have been. Maybe it's this internal struggle that makes me see this movie in such a positive light.
Another thing I enjoyed greatly from Angst were it's camera angles. Many of them were tracking and following shots of the killer lead, which I found to be terribly effective at creating a tense atmosphere. Every time I saw the camera keep distance at a slow rotating shot while he walked down the street, eyes narrowed and looking left to right, I couldn't help but ask what he was going to do, what was he thinking. Who isn't safe? This is a recurring effect in the film and I agree with it. I can't tangibly explain exactly why I loved this particular camera trick so much, but I suggest you find out for yourself and give me what you think. You'll know exactly what I mean about 4 times over by about 30 minutes in.
This movie does stick out as both a slasher film and a character study, as well. After all with our lead and the killer of the movie explaining his actions to us in narrative and telling us stories about his previous excapade the whole way through, it's hard not to call it a character study. I do wonder after it's all said and done though whether or not this character study truly is worth the mention or if I simply enjoyed the dual nature of a killer needing help. Being a man who advocates for mental health and upkeep, i can understand if I have a bit of a bias to this type of story. But after three viewings I think I can safely say that no, it's just a good piece of a decent film from a time past.
But yeah, sooner or later we'd have to talk about the supporting roles. And honestly they're very wooden. None of them have much of a backstory or a character, they simply show up as we discover them through the eyes of our lead. But again, this might lend accredation to the movie. Afterall, we learn nothing more about these people than the killer does. We are given as much information as our lead actor and no more. This is a technique that I believe lets the audience better step into the scene, and feel as if they might actually be there witnessing the events unfold. It's far easier to do without holding knowledge that the main character doesn't. A level playing field, we'll call it. But that doesn't excuse the acting, which was questionable at best in many spots. I'll be honest and straight forward, outside of our lead, i didn't enjoy much of the acting at all, mostly because there wasn't much. This movie was made for the lead role, and the supports are simply happening around the lead. Not something I can't get behind, but still, something that took away from the film.
At the end of the day I think this movie is certainly worth a watch. I was entertained thoroughly, and the things done right in this film greatly outweigh that with which corners were cut. This is a scary, suspenseful look into the mind of a man driven mad by a condition he did not understand, forced to grow into a life needing to curb his urges instead of live his life with some form of treatment. I guess the more I talk about the movie I find it to be a personal tragedy, for although the man could have been lying about wanting or needing help, he still regularly asked for it and had it denied, allowing the potential for this to truly be a case of sickness gone unchecked. I suppose I leave the final verdict up to you, my readers.
As always I found this movie on Shudder.Com if you're looking for a viewing.