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Thirteen years after WWII a concentration camp survivor (Rampling) and her tormentor, currently the night porter at a Vienna hotel, meet again and fall back into their sado-masochistic relationship. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As the title suggests this film deals with the darkness. The darkness of the human mind, the darkness of relationships, sex and society as a whole. It's sort of a Freaudian theme of exploring the weird sexual obsessions of those who on the outside may seem perfectly functional and 'normal'.
The story focuses on a concentration camp survivor who twelve years later, by chance, meets her former captor. She is now married while he is working as a night porter at the hotel she is staying at. The twist here is that she decides to go back to her former captor and continue the bizarre sex rituals they once had.
This is the films most interesting aspect, which is focusing on the long term psychological ramifications of those surviving traumatic experiences. It looks both at the victims and the captors who now must learn to 'rationalize' their guilty conscious. It questions whether anyone can truly function normally after surviving such severe circumstances. It also questions whether society really has any ability to make someone 'adjust'.
This is definitely complex material, but the director seems to have a good grasp on it. The shot compositions are full of a lot of stark shadows with a definite emphasis on the surreal. Especially with some sadomasocistic fantasy segments.
The problem really lies in the fact that the film just doesn't have the intended strong impact. There's no real momentum nor discernible tension. Yes the characters are complex, but not that interesting. We really don't care particularly what happens to them.
The films strongest point is actually in it's final sequence, which brings the whole thing together. Like in any great movie there's the one shot that says it all. Here it's the final shot where visually, without saying anything, it shows just how isolated outsiders truly are. It also shows just how controlled and obsessed they are with their personal demons and how dysfunctional society is at handling them.
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