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The Brute (1977)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  22 March 1977 (UK)
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Glamour model Diane Shepherd is routinely being beaten by her husband Tim, who accuses her of infidelity. When she can't take it anymore, she finds shelter with photographer Mark and his ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Roberta Gibbs ...
Suzanne Stone ...
Kenneth Nelson ...
Nicholas Barnes ...
Tim Shepherd
Charlotte Cornwell ...
Jenny Twigge ...
Sylvester Morand ...
James Farrar ...
Ricki Stewardson ...
Scruffy boy
David Millett ...
Clive Graham ...
Police sergeant
Anne Godley ...
Community house woman


Glamour model Diane Shepherd is routinely being beaten by her husband Tim, who accuses her of infidelity. When she can't take it anymore, she finds shelter with photographer Mark and his girlfriend Carrie. They introduce Diana to Millie, who is in a similar situation. Meanwhile, Tim informs Diane that if she doesn't come back to him, he will see to it that he gains custody of their son, Timmy. Written by Il Tesoro

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for domestic violence, sexuality and some language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 March 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Han-dyret  »

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User Reviews

The Brute Syndrome.
9 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Brute is written and directed by Gerry O'Hara. It stars Julian Glover, Sarah Douglas, Roberta Gibbs, Bruce Robinson, Suzanne Stone, Kenneth Nelson, Jenny Twigge and Nicholas Barnes. Music is by Kenneth V. Jones and cinematography by Dennis C. Lewiston.

Model Diane Shepherd (Douglas) is emotionally stuck in a violent marriage to her husband Tim (Glover), who in his constant paranoia accuses her of infidelity. Finally having enough, she finds shelter with photographer Mark (Robinson) and his girlfriend Carrie (Stone). Meeting up with another abused wife, Millie (Twigge), Diane begins to find hope for the future, but then Tim informs her that if she doesn't come back to him, he will see to it that he gains custody of their young son and make it impossible for her to see him freely.

Tricky subject matter inevitably invokes tricky human reactions, something writer and director Gerry O'Hara knows only too well. Given the "X" certificate upon its release in the UK, the film was promptly vilified by most critics and caused uproar in press and women's group circles. It seems that back in 1977 the issue of domestic abuse should not be put up as a filmic subject. Things didn't help that the marketing department played it up as a horror movie, something O'Hara wasn't aiming for, whilst some mischievous critics angled it as sensationalist soft-core pornography!

Viewed now, and it's become something of a rare movie, there's flaws aplenty for sure, but one of them isn't being sensationalist for sensationalist's sake. Tonally the picture is all over the place, one minute it's grabbing you by the throat and shaking you, the next it's almost like we have been transported into some swanky kitchen sink drama. In fact quite early on it gets a little bit sketchy as to where its heart is, but once Diane makes the decision to leave Teddy (how inappropriately cuddly a name can be eh?!), and we get brought into Millie's awful world (Twigge excellent) then pic finds its rhythm and makes telling and dramatic points.

The violence here is tame by today's standards, unsurprisingly of course, but it's still terrifying, especially with the Millie scenes, but I reiterate, this is not a horror movie per se. Don't seek this out if you are looking for something like The Stepfather, this is a social concern movie about horror inflicted domestically, there is a big difference. Lead cast members are more than up to the task of bringing the story home safely, though some of the support work is decidedly amateurish, and those irked by PC issues in movies are likely to draw back their bow and arrows ready to fire off a poisonous dart.

A journalist friend of mine went to a special educational double bill screening of The Brute and The Burning Bed (Farrah Fawcett TV movie) in the early 90s. She said that at the end of The Brute the audience applauded and it was a hot-bed of debate in the bar afterwards. I didn't feel like clapping myself when I watched it yesterday, I felt exhausted yet strangely uplifted. You see here's the thing, it's all in the finale, in its hopeful denouement, and with the realisation this is not about The Brute of the title, this is about the women. Very much so. No masterpiece is this, but a very smart and misunderstood piece of cinema. 7/10

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