Martyrs is a film stemming from a new found obsession with gore and violence not seen much before in France. In the vein of Irreversible and Inside (among others I haven't reviewed yet), Martyrs picks up where the others left off and excels.
A young girl who is tortured and beaten when younger manages to escape. Grows up, makes one true friend, and together they decide to take matters into their own hands. Pretty straight forward, right?
The only summaries I was ever given before seeing this film were very brief such as the one I just gave, so despite being told how amazing it was, I was still a little bit nervous. That sort of plot just sounds weak... like some sad attempt to hold scenes of violence together. I was gladly proven wrong so if that summary had you concerned, you can relax.
The camera and acting are what really shine through in this piece. The shots are very well constructed and balanced. They also take great care in never showing you more than they need to during each moment. Some of their earlier moments (first half hour) have tremendous build ups until the film takes a drastic change of pace. However, the camera stays right with it as once the pacing and mood change. The cutting immediately becomes erratic and uneasy.
Touching briefly on the acting... it is superb. The two main actresses pull their characters off in stride, never once letting us doubt their roles. Nearing the end, one of them plays off desperation spotlessly (with the little help of camera sweeps and a minor score).
The only thing that goes against this film is that, like with most ultra violent films, they lose replay impact after each viewing. So once again...
Notes: Long haired girl... in a French film?