After hearing about A Serbian Film almost nonstop over the course of the past year, I finally got the chance to check it out tonight, thanks to Revolver Entertainment's Region 2 Blu-ray (which works on all Blu-ray players, though it does have a good four minutes of shots cut out of it). Going into it slightly dreading what I was about to experience, I came out the other end with two polar opposite thoughts about the film, seeing both the good and the bad in it and agreeing with both of the two vastly different viewpoints about the most disturbing movie of the year. Like all films dealing with such extreme subject matter, there are those who get it and embrace it for having the balls to tackle such serious issues and there are those who find it to be nothing more than a sleazy and disgusting piece of trash made only to shock, those who are unable to look past its shocking nature to see the message that lies at its core. I personally have got to place myself in both of these categories of thought.
On the one hand, A Serbian Film is a very smart and well made film, competent in nearly all aspects (aside from a few lackluster prosthetics shots, which take away from the overall impact) and made with a clear message, one that manages to smack you over the head even during the most jaw droppingly shocking sequences of events. Director Srojan Spasojevic's message is one I can't help but relate to the anger of, even if I do kinda wonder if the way he went about it was a bit too over the top and extreme, and it's one that's relevant and topical for both Serbians and non-Serbians alike. If nothing else, the movie certaintly gets you talking and thinking, which is an opinion that I don't think anyone who has seen it can deny. Given this was clearly the Serbian filmmaker's whole goal with the movie, one must commend him for succeeding in his bold mission and for delivering brutality with a purpose, rather than brutality simply for brutality's sake.
On the other hand, there are times when the movie is just too disturbing and offensive, making you wonder what the hell Spasojevic was thinking committing this stuff to film. There's one scene in particular that quite frankly made me feel a little strange about having the movie in my DVD collection, and i'm not typically one to get offended by a fictional piece of cinema. It's just too much at times, pushing the envelope a little too far, to the point that it's hard to get behind the film as a whole in any positive way. Then again, as John Doe says in Se7en, "Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention". That line just about sums up A Serbian Film to a tee.
So ya see folks, i'm utterly torn on this one. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Truthfully, i'm not even sure. But one thing is for damn sure ; i'm not likely to forget it anytime soon. Much like films such as Irreversible and Martyrs before it, A Serbian Film is one hell of an unforgiving and depressing descent into hell, one that I appreciate for expressing such a serious message in such an attention getting and brutal way and at the same time, one I find hard to recommend or sit through more than once - though I do find both of those afformentioned films to be a little easier to swallow. So I don't really recommend you watch it but if your stomach can handle some seriously fucked up shit and you really wanna dive into the fiery depths of human hell, i'm certaintly not gonna stop ya and A Serbian Film will most definitely take ya there ...
You've been warned.