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The Cinema of Abel Ferrara
Captain_Couth17 January 2005
Ms. 45 (1981) was an interesting view on the revenge flicks that were popular during the mid 70's to the early 80's. Abel Ferrara and his co-conspirator Nicholas St. John follow the life of a mute dress worker (Zoe Lund) who snaps one day after being raped twice. She kills her last attacker and keeps his gun. After seeing the grim world around her and the loss of her mental faculties, she decides to do a hunting.

A strange but highly enjoyable film that takes exploitation films to a whole new level. The gritty direction by Abel Ferrara and the smart writing from Nicholas St. John elevate this movie above most of the trash that was produced during this time period. The star, Zoe Lund posses some unearthly beauty and she has that certain stuff to make the material work. Not many other actresses could have pulled this off but she some how manages to.

If you can find an uncut version of this movie I advise you to go out and get it. This is one of the best vigilante movies you'll ever watch. I have to highly recommend this film. It's Abel Ferrara doing what he does best. Street level film making!
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The best of its subgenre.
ThrownMuse7 April 2005
After leaving work, a lonely mute New Yorker is raped twice in one afternoon. She manages to fight back against the second rapist and kills him with his own gun. She is traumatized and chops up his body and sticks it in the fridge. She tells no one, and is unable to cope with what happened. Soon, she's finding empowerment by using the gun to dispose of any man that may potentially take advantage of her or other women.

I am not a fan of the rape/revenge genre, but this compelling film miraculously manages to avoid exploitation on nearly every level. The rape scenes are disturbing but fortunately not as explicit as in many genre movies. While the content of "Ms. 45" is obviously over-the-top and exaggerated, it manages to retain a sense of dignity that rises above tacky movies like "Baise Moi" and "I Spit on Your Grave." Zoe Lund is incredible as the lead actress, depending on her versatile facial expressions to portray what mental state the character is in.

My Rating: 7.5/10.
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Worthy of its cult status
Woodyanders16 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Shy and mousy mute garment district worker Thana (a remarkably assured and nuanced performance by the lovely Zoe Tamerlis) gets raped twice in one day. After killing her second assailant with an iron, Thana takes possession of the man's .45 caliber gun and starts hitting the mean streets of New York on a mission to blow away every last sleazy no-count guy who crosses her lethal path. Director Abel Ferrara (who also has a chilling cameo as the first rapist) and screenwriter Nicholas St. John take the familiar vigilante premise and completely turn it on its ear by cleverly undermining basic exploitation audience expectations: the rape scenes aren't that graphic, there's no nudity to speak of, and all the men featured in this film are hateful and disgusting jerks who regularly prey on women in one way or another (Thana's victims include a street gang, a slimy fashion photographer, an abusive pimp, and even a rich Arab who cruises for babes to pick up in his limo). Moreover, this inspired cross between "Repulsion" and "Death Wish" reaches a stunning bloodbath climax at a Halloween costume party which Thana attends dressed as a nun. Tamerlis as Thana makes for a fascinatingly complex figure: While she nonchalantly offs numerous predatory dudes, she can't bring herself to kill her landlady's pesky dog. In an interesting touch, the initially plain and passive Thana becomes more increasingly alluring and aggressive throughout the course of the narrative. Edith Sherman as Thana's annoying and eccentric landlady Ms. Sherman gives one of the single most gloriously oddball performances ever committed to celluloid. Albert Sinkys contributes a deliciously smarmy turn as Thana's odious creep boss Albert and Jack Thibeau has a startling bit as a dejected fellow Thana picks up in a bar. James Lemmo's slick, gleaming cinematography gives the picture an attractive glossy look. Joe Delia's moody, jazzy score likewise does the funky trick (the piercing saxophone is especially gnarly). Done with tremendous crackling verve and an arresting sense of dazzling style, this highly impressive piece of ultra-kinetic low-budget indie film-making certainly lives up to its sizable cult reputation.
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THE best exploitation movie of the 1980s!
Infofreak1 September 2003
The 1970s were THE decade for American exploitation movies with the likes of Roger Corman, Jack Hill, and Larry Cohen Jr creating some of the most entertaining trash ever made. For the most part the 1980s were a big let down in this department. Porkys-like sex comedies and awful buddy action movies and the like generally failed to reach the heights of the glory days of A.I.P. There were a few exceptions ('Chained Heat', 'Maniac' and 'The Exterminator' immediately spring to mind), and 'Ms.45 ' (a.k.a. 'Angel Of Vengeance') is in my mind THE single best exploitation movie of the decade. Abel Ferrara, who later made brilliant movies like 'Bad Lieutenant' and 'The Funeral', had previously made a porno movie and the infamous "video nasty" 'The Driller Killer' before this, which could well be the best rape revenge movie ever made. Ferrara's genius touch was the casting of the late Zoe Tamerlis. She is stunningly beautiful and her face is very expressive. Making her character mute makes the movie an unforgettable experience. It's really difficult trying to "sell" this stunning movie to someone. You'll either love it or you just won't "get it". I think it works very well as a post-'Death Wish' vigilante movie, but just as 'The Driller Killer' is more than "just" a slasher, this movie has a lot more to it, and that is almost completely down to Zoe Tamerlis. 'Ms. 45' might be b-grade trash to many, but it is uncompromised, something you very rarely see these days. I think it stands alongside 'Repo Man', 'Videodrome', 'Blue Velvet', 'The Evil Dead', 'The Ninth Configuration', 'Raising Arizona' and 'The King Of Comedy' as one of the most extraordinary movies released in a decade dominated by mediocre popcorn movies forced on viewers by Spielberg, Lucas, Hughes, Bruckheimer and Simpson.
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Death Wish in stockings and high heels.
BA_Harrison22 December 2008
If it's gritty, authentic 80s exploitation you're after, then look no further than Abel Ferrara's excellent rape/revenge thriller, Ms.45, which stars the stunning Zoe Tamerlis as Thana, a mute seamstress who goes on a killing spree after being sexually assaulted twice in one day. This feminist version of Death Wish is an ultra-stylish, mega-violent, and super-cool classic of the genre that never pulls its punches, and is highly recommended to fans of similarly themed cult movies such as The Exterminator, Thriller: A Cruel Picture, and I Spit On Your Grave.

Whilst Ferrara's tale is admittedly the stuff of pure B-movie trash, with Thana ultimately becoming an insane, man-hating, killing-machine spewing bullets indiscriminately at any male who crosses her path, the film manages to transcend its low budget roots to become a genuine work of art thanks to its superb visuals, an unforgettable performance from the beguiling lead actress, and brilliant use of a jazzy soundtrack.

Like many great exploitation pics of the era, the film makes excellent use of a very seedy looking New York, with worthless punks, violent pimps, and sexist scumbags hanging on every street corner, just begging for a slug from a .45 right between the eyes (which reminds me, is yelling 'hey, baby doll' to passing women a recommended dating technique in the Big Apple?). Drawing his inspiration from the thoroughly sleazy vibe of early 80s downtown Manhattan, Ferrara delivers an unforgettable experience that offers viewers several truly iconic moments of exploitation cinema, including Thana's transition from meek dressmaker to blood-red lipstick wearing vigilante (accompanied by a screeching saxophone), the stunning execution of a street-gang in Central Park, and the amazing finale where Thana, wearing a sexy nun outfit, loses her cool at a fancy dress party.

Slick, riveting and totally unmissable, Ms.45 gets an almost-perfect 9/10 from me (it would've got a 10 if it hadn't been for Editta Sherman's irritating performance as Thana's nosey landlady, Mrs. Nasone—I don't understand why SHE couldn't have accidentally caught a stray bullet in the head!).
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Death Wish meet Repulsion in this Abel Ferrara near-great of cold-blooded murder
Quinoa19843 May 2010
Thana (not Hannah as one might mistake to hear) hasn't had a good lot in life. She doesn't have really any family or friends, she works for pittance as a clothing workshop, and can't speak as a mute. She's also very attractive, and one day walking home she's pulled into an alley and raped by a man in a mask. She staggers home, bewildered by the whole thing, but before she can get her bearings she comes upon *another* man, in her apartment before she got home, who was in the midst of theft. He instead decides to go ahead for the rape. Twice in one day? Fat chance of that - she finally takes her moment, and Thana hits the guy to the ground and then with an iron kills him.

From then on the film takes its beat as something of a quandary, but a truly fascinating one: this isn't quite an exploitation flick, but it's not really a vigilante action-revenge picture like Death Wish, and yet it has hints of both. It's like Abel Ferrara and his writer St. John took the revenge element of Death Wish, of taking it to the street to rid the scum, but took it also to another level like in Polanski's Repulsion. Here Thana isn't some expert at self-defense, and shouldn't be as good as she is with the .45 she pulls off of the rapist #2. But she is good at getting her chance to kill people, and she does, even if they haven't really done anything to her (one of the more curiously ambiguous scenes is when Thana meets a guy at a bar, he keeps rambling outside about strangling his cat, she's about to shoot and it doesn't fire, he takes the gun and instead of shooting her shoots himself)

True, not all of the acting Ferrara is able to gather up totally works; some of them, like two actors playing a pimp and a prostitute (even for one scene) falls flat as believable streetwise (better is Thana's boss, a creep who wants to have his way with her but hides it under a thin veneer of professionalism and care). And it may also be true that Ferrara's film paints men- hell, just most people- as jerks or losers or total dogs, and really who will miss them when they're gone? It's that part of it that makes it an exploitation flick, especially in that one sequence at night when Thana goes out and kills the most amount of people (a whole group of gang-bangers in the park, an Arab and his chauffeur in a limo, the cat strangler). And as part of tugging at the weakest of heart strings, there's a neighbor who has a little dog and (gasp) will the dog make it through the end of the film?

A lot of this is pulp, but it's well directed and given a score that is fresh and cool in an early NY 80's sort of way. And when we do take it most seriously it's when looking right into Thana's face and her eyes, which start off terrified and dazed and a little in a surreal mindset (watch when she is surrounded by (over) concerned co-workers, or when she's in the bathroom and sees a hand near her breast that isn't there), and soon turns cold and bloodless. It's almost a symbolic kind of turn, hence even the name Thana which dates back to Greek mythology. This isn't someone to root for, which is what mucks up the traditional angle of a B-movie. Instead Ferrara is after something a lot deeper. Ms. 45 is action and a bit of horror (dismembered body anyone?) but it's also a sad tale of a girl without any hope, who is going crazier by the day and dresses out in black like a spider out on the prowl.

It's got some bad-ass dimensions of drama, and a rather wicked climax involving slow-motion and Ms. 45 herself going in her maniac mode in a nun costume, and is mostly marred by a few sub-par supporting performances (albeit a very low-budget indie from NYC) and a few little unsatisfying scenes.
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Vengeance is mine!
Greensleeves5 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
‘Ms. 45' is probably Abel Ferrara's masterpiece despite it's many flaws. It has originality, a great music score and it leaves an indelible impression for better or worse. When we first meet Thona (Zoe Tamerlis) we wonder why she is so quiet and it is only when one of her tormentors asks her why she doesn't speak that we realise it is because she *can't* speak. This is a shocking revelation and even more shocking is the fact that this demure looking girl becomes a cold blooded murderer. The photography captures late 70's New York to perfection, at all times of day and night. The pacing and editing are excellent leaving no time for any dull moments. The acting is perfect with the exception of the Landlady (Editta Sherman) who, despite being eccentric and amusing, is no actress. The climax is set at a fancy dress party and the ensuing mayhem when Zoe goes berserk is choreographed and filmed to great (almost hypnotic) effect.
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Abel's "Revenge"
ccthemovieman-110 January 2006
Ultra-dark-and-violent-loving director Abel Ferrara's first film (this one) is, like a lot of his peers' first efforts: a low-budget affair but one that got him attention and jump-started his career.

The actors in here are nobodies and really not that good, particularly the landlady (Editta Sherman) who is so horrible an actress that she's interesting only because she's so inept. Zoe Tamerlis, who played the main character, is almost mesmerizing in her role even though she's a mute so we never hear her voice. She has a pretty face and gave us some effective facial expressions. Too bad she never made it as a star.

The story is strictly a female "Death Wish." A nice girl gets raped not once but twice within hours, snaps, and goes out on a killing spree. Pretty basic revenge on the lowest of levels but a satisfying film nonetheless and, at 80 minutes, breezes by. Definitely worth a look if you like these kind of low-budget revenge flicks.
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Rape and Revenge
claudio_carvalho2 June 2012
In Manhattaan, the mute seamstress Thana (Zoë Tamerlis) is a timid woman that works in the fashion industry and spends most of her idle time at home. One night, she is raped in an alley while going back home after hours and when she arrives at home, she is raped again by another criminal. However, she reacts and kills the assaulter with a flatiron. The disturbed Thana loses her sanity and uses the rapist pistol to kill men on the streets of New York.

"Angel of Vengeance" is a cult-movie by Abel Ferrara with elements of "Death Wish" when a simple woman goes insane after being raped twice in one day and she uses the criminal's gun to kill every man that makes a pass on her. I have just watched this film for the fourth or fifth time on VHS and it has not aged. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Sedução e Vingança" ("Seduction and Revenge")

Note: On 12 May 2017, I saw this film again.
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High-Caliber cult!
Coventry1 March 2006
Neneh Cherry already specifically stated in a song that this is a woman's world, so who are we to argue with that? Women RULE this world, whether they carry around .45 caliber guns or not… Infamous cult movie director Abel Ferrara's interpretation of feminism revolves on a mute and seemly defenseless young beauty that wipes male scum from the face of the earth with a pistol. After being the victim of assault and attempted rape TWICE in one afternoon, Thana kills her second assailant and chops up his corpse in the bathtub. Whilst getting rid of the bagged body parts, she randomly kills numerous other men on the trash-filled streets of New York. "Ms.45" has quite a lot in common with Ferrara's breakthrough film "the Driller Killer", except that it doesn't contain so many tedious moments and that you actually have sympathy for the Thana character, whereas Reno Miller could die instantly for all I cared. Strictly talking from a cinematic point of view, "Ms.45" is a much better film than "Driller Killer" as well. Ferrara manages to retain his depressing yet realistic portrait of dead-end New York, but the camera-work is much more steady and versatile. Zoë Lund, who remarkably looks like Nastassja Kinski, is a terrific anti-heroine and the fact she plays a mute even increases the complexity of her character. Lund later co-wrote "Bad Lieutenant" before sadly passing away at the young age of 37, due to heart failure. Unfortunately, however, "Ms.45" didn't stand the test of time very well. The graphic violence and definitely the controversy has been surpassed severely nowadays and I sincerely doubt that the new Playstation-generation will be impressed by Ferrara's take on the explicit revenge-flick trend. Luckily selected group of film buffs including myself still consider this to be a quintessential cult gem that'll live on forever. Kill 'em all, Thana!
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Forgotten feminist horror movie
preppy-328 February 2017
Zoe Lund (who was only 17 at the time of filming) plays Thana a mute woman who works in the garment district of NYC. When going home one day she's viciously raped. She stumbles home and finds a burglar in her apartment. He also rapes her but she kills him. She then gets his gun and goes out at night and kills all the men who try to attack her or other women. Then she starts killing men who have done nothing wrong.

Dark and depressing film. Filmed in the early 1980s on location in NYC it presents a very negative view of the city and its citizens. All the men are portrayed as scum that deserve what they get. Surprisingly this was written and directed by two men! It's tough stuff but you have to applaud a movie that doesn't hold back. Lund is terrific in her role (hard to believe she was only 17) and it's very well-directed by Abel Ferrara. LOVE how he stages the scene when Thana is stalked by four men in Central Park. There's actually not a lot of violence in the movie but what's there is pretty strong. This was not a big hit when it came out. It was too dark for most viewers. However it did well on the midnight movie circuit. It basically just disappeared (cable TV stations won't touch it) until it was reissued in a beautiful transfer on DVD a few years back. Dark and gritty but important.
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Disturbing Rape Study
MrVB9 September 1999
Well produced, directed, written, acted, study of rape. Displays her progression from horror to revenge to delusional homicide.

She is snatched into an alleyway where she is violently assaulted and raped. She then meanders to her apartment, not realizing it is being burglarized. She is sitting on the couch trying to cope with her rape when the burglar appears before her, and discovering that she is mute, proceeds to rape her at gunpoint, knowing that she can't call for help. During the rape she kills him by striking his head with a blunt instrument and then with an iron. She now has possession of a .45.

Without detailing the entire film, she begins by killing out of fear and anger. Her next step is baiting rapists. After suffering from persistent flashbacks she pursues any man she sees touching a woman. She then progresses into seducing and killing men.

Slight problems I ignored via suspension of disbelief: Where DOES she get all those bullets? She makes sounds while barfing and actually mutters her friends name at the end; Histrionic device or was her muteness a sign of emotional instability in the first place?

Ignore any titillatng VHS covers or advertisements; this is neither Gone With The Wind nor Porky's. Does one HAVE to see this movie? No. Will one have wasted one's time if one SEES this movie? No.
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The "Angel of Vengeance" and mother of revenge exploitation cinema!!
kclipper26 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Director, Abel Ferrara began his career with his first full length adult film, 'Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy', which was a pornographic failure, then he brought us 'Driller Killer', which was a depressing horror film. Third times the charm as Abel pulls off one of the most notoriously violent vigilante films of all time, and he does it with style and wit thanks to writer, Nicholas St. John and actress, Zoe Lund. Zoe plays the shy, vulnerable, mute seamstress, Thana, who as fate may have it is raped not once, but twice in the same day. The second time, Thana gets the upper hand on her attacker, and by chance she gets a hold of his 45 caliber pistol, then she hacks him up and puts the body parts in her fridge. Soon after she completely flips out, she murders a man after a paranoid showdown in an alley. Now that she develops a taste for killing, Thana decides to seduce and blow away any man she can while prowling the mean streets of New York City without any regard to guilt or consequence. The action leads up to a Halloween costume dance party where she dresses up as a nun and finishes off her murder spree in a brilliant slow motion sequence that has as much cinematic impact now as it did 30 years ago.

Abel Ferrara uses inspired techniques from Hitchcock, Scorsese and DePalma giving this film a sense of genuine thrill. You'll cheer on Thana as she guns down suspected perverts and street scum regardless of any moral taboos, and Zoe Lund's character's beautiful but silently deadly presence makes her probably the most interesting of the femme fatale revenge screen legends. (and we really dig her as 'dark personified vengeance' in that nun costume!) Abel does a good job of capturing the grittiness and nihilistic social patterns of his native hometown of New York, and the Nicholas St. John screenplay goes with the flow accordingly. The Ferrara and St. John production duo plus a handful of big name actors will later become a film-making force to be reckoned with as they bring us more stylized crime dramas such as 'King of New York', 'Bad Lieutenant' and 'The Funeral'.
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Tops Among the Revenge Genre
gavin694225 April 2011
A shy and mute seamstress (Zoe Lund) goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York after dark and randomly kills men with a .45 caliber gun.

The director, Abel Ferrara, who would go on to make other genre films, with this one featuring a cast of people you likely never heard of performing just as well as "real" stars would. Ferrara himself appears under another name as a rapist, and Steve Dash also appears under another name, though Dash is hardly a notable figure.

The eerie music is reminiscent of Italian horror, which struck me as beautiful and perfect for such a film. Really, this is a very slick production and a much more enjoyable film than "I Spit on Your Grave". While "Grave" is the best known of the revenge films, and the one that really started the subgenre, this one just looks better. With all due respect to Meir Zarchi and Camille Keaton, this one should get more praise than it does.

I love that the insult "get bent" is used... its employment is not nearly often enough these days. I also appreciated the free advertising for the P. Chimento trucking company of Patchogue, New York. This, more than anything else, really shows that the film was made in New York City, as anyone from outside the area will have no idea what it is.

The name of Zoë Lund's character, Thana, is reminiscent of the Greek god of death, "Thanatos". Sigmund Freud used the word to refer to the human "death instinct", which leads people to take risks, seek thrills or behave destructively in ways that could lead to death. Was this intentional? I have no idea. But it is fitting.
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The silent voice of a woman
sofiastahl-7212224 May 2017
Ferrara's Ms. 45 is a well executed movie about rape and revenge. The genre "rape and revenge" movies is no genre I like because it's dressed as a "feminist" take on women's way to handle rape but it's more the male directors way do exploit women by showing nudity and exploit violence to show blood. This movie is not the case which make this movie very good.

It might be shot in 1980 but they really made a exploitation movie about rape and revenge in a fair way. This movie contains a plot beyond the rape and beyond the revenge to give it a bit more depth which is important. The movie might be short but it has a interesting story line. The use of the victim as a mute woman amplifier the voice of a woman in society, our voices are not heard and especially when it comes to rape and abuse against women.

The rape scenes are not sexualised as in most RR movies, actually this whole movie contains no nudity of either men or women at all which is very good. It's more focused on the trauma of the act.

The script is very good and Thana's muteness gives the story a very important symbolism. If you are interested in the RR genre don't watch any other film than this one because this one is actually the only one that portray the act of rape and the psychological trauma of it and the revenge of it in a fair way, without exploiting women to the degree that the movie itself become the sleazball that the men in the movie act like.

Full of symbolics for female oppression and male domination and how our society is formed to not be suited and safe for women that adds depth to the movie. If it wasn't for the great script and even the acting that really made an impression (Zoë Tamerlis was so good and just about 18 years old) on me the movie wouldn't be so popular till this day but this movie appeal to an audience 36 years later and that's impressive!

99/100 recommend!
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Ms. 45
a_baron29 October 2018
This film has been called a feminist fantasy; feminism was in its second wave when it was released, the misnamed women's liberation. The fact that it came from the sick mind of a man tends to refute this claim, nor is it a rape revenge fantasy like the slightly earlier "I Spit On Your Grave" because murdering innocent people, even men, is not revenge but psychopathy.

Our doomed angel is a young, attractive mute named Thana. She lives alone, which is strange, because a woman who is both attractive and alluringly silent would surely be snapped up by a local alpha male in short order. The nightmare begins when she is attacked on the way home and raped. When she recovers, she goes home; the sensible thing would be to go to the nearest police station or better still hospital as there is no point in her dialling 9-1-1. When she arrives home, she is raped again, by a burglar. Please, no allusions to that famous Oscar Wilde quote, both rapes were real.

The first rapist had a gun, so did the second one. Unfortunately for him, Thana had a blunt instrument, and after whacking him with it, she picked up a flat iron (from her work) and caved in his skull with it. Now please girl, get someone to dial 9-1-1, no one who matters will think ill of you when the truth comes out. Alas...

She drags the body into the bathroom and begins dismembering it. She also goes out with the burglar's gun and begins shooting men, not at random, but any who come on to her, which in view of her being young and so alluring, is many. Okay lady, you are no longer a victim, the abyss has long been starring back at you.

This slightly off-beat cult rubbish may titillate some, but the true story of the female lead is far more interesting, and tragic. Zoë Tamerlis, the future Zoë Lund, was only seventeen, and this was her first film. Although a college drop-out, she was a multi-talented individual, composing and writing music. She was also sadly a heroin addict; she died in 1999, aged just 37, but was such a fascinating creature that her estranged husband Robert set up a website about her which is maintained to this day.
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The two sides of sexism.
Preston-1026 July 2002
A film like Ms. 45 has the words "exploitation flick" written all over it; just look at the plot: a deaf woman named Thana comes home from work, is raped not once, but twice by two different attackers, and kills the second rapist with his own hand gun. A premise like this is not east to accept, but still, what results is one of the most effective exploitation films I have seen. Interestingly, from the time she kills her first attacker to the end of the film, what follows is a slow process where she becomes disillusioned with men in general (with the exception of a dog, by coincidence the only male character she spares). She later goes on to kill several men as a reaction to the crime, including an entire street gang, a pimp, a sheik (!), and a guy who's only crime is trying to get her attention. The movie's main theme seems to analyze the implications of male heterosexism. Thana's handicap is symbolic of a greater problem, it could be the glass ceiling, sexism, cultural misogyny, etc... The movie also shows that male sexual abuse not only hurts the victim, but also those innocent men, whose only crime is being classified in a group with too many Bob Packwoods, Bill Clintons, and yes, Billy Bob Thorntons..... The movie also follows one reversal with another reversal, particularly in the movie's most haunting moment where Thana is taken into company by a male suicidal divorcee. He has a long monologue in which he laments his former wife's infidelity, but acknowledges his joy when he kills her cat. The divorcee is horrified when Thana tries to kill him with her gun in a botched attempt, but removes the gun from her hand and finishes the job himself. This is one of the most shocking scenes I have ever witnessed in a film. It clearly analyzes the self-hatred, and self-loathing that many people have, finding it difficult to reconcile past demons, while dealing with those stereotypes that people associate with a group. But despite Ms. 45's brilliant structure, there were some problems I had with the film. Its comical moments come off as being way too inappropriate, particularly in light of the film's subject matter, but still, this is a hard film to shake.
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Gritty and unforgettable vigilante /rape and revenge thriller.
HumanoidOfFlesh4 August 2008
"Ms.45" easily has to be my favourite Abel Ferrara's flick.A fragile,pathologically shy New York City seamstress named Thana(Zoë Tamerlis)is brutally raped at gunpoint twice in one afternoon by two different assailants,first while walking home and the second in her own home.This time she kills her rapist and rather than report the crime to the authorities,decides to dispose of the body herself by dismembering the body.Meanwhile,she finds herself the new owner of his Star.45-calibre pistol,which she takes to kill for protection.Very intense,dark and gritty vigilante thriller obviously influenced by "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Death Wish" with virtually every male character being a two-dimensional predator.Zoë Tamerlis is perfect as a mute killing machine Thana-she is stunningly beautiful and deadly.10 out of 10.See it before you die!
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Ms. 45
ashleyallinson8 February 2005
I am glad "Ms. 45" is back on the shelf, because for a long time it was hard to find, certainly up here in Canada. This film is superior to "Driller Killer" in every way except for the lead track. Nothing touches the live performance of Tony Coca Cola and the Roosters playing The Grand Street Stomp. It is quite obvious in "Ms. 45" that that is not the sound of a trumpet. Anyway, for those who don't dig this, you can't tell me you can diss it. This, his second film, is night and day between "Driller Killer". What an obvious improvement. I was hoping that the DVD wouldn't be Vanilla and have at least a directors commentary. "Driller Killer's" commentary is legendary. And while you could chalk this up as being the female version of "Death Wish" there are some elements here that make it a true horror flick. For all those who liked "Eating Raoul", this is a must see. Suspension of disbelief is an obvious exercise here, but you won't be disappointed with it if this is your thing. See if you can spot Michael Richards as one of the extras at the Halloween party.
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REPULSION meets DEATH WISH. Riveting all the way
Camera-Obscura8 December 2006
Hell of a ride. A rape revenge flick Ferrara style, which combines a twisted take on feminism drenched in catholic symbolism (a mute nun with lipstick, Madonna versus the whore), this certainly deserves its status as one of the most discussed exploitation films ever made. I've always loved the kind of gritty, raw, New York atmosphere. Ferrara always went to great lengths to find the right locations for his films in his beloved New York. For the urban nightmare atmosphere depicted here, finding such locations in 1981 Manhattan must have been somewhat less of an effort back then than in the orderly theme park it is now.

Zoë Tamerlis (or Zoë Lund as she is sometimes credited) was only 17 years old when she played Thana, the mute garment worker who turns vigilante on the streets of New York after she is raped twice on the same day. Since she is a mute, her performance is all the more impressive because she has to rely on facial gestures and body language to convey Thana's range of emotions. Some resemblance to Roman Polanski's REPULSION (1965), wherein the young Catherine Deneuve, who barely speaks, suffers from a pathological fear of rape, and withdraws herself from the outside world, after which she mentally deteriorates, just like Thana in MS. 45.

I know very little about Zoë Tamerlis or Zoë Lund, under which name she visited the Rotterdam Film Festival in 1993, and where she even made a short film, that she wrote, directed, and starred in. She also wrote the script for Ferrara's later film THE BAD LIEUTENANT. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1997 in Paris, probably due to drug-related heart failure.

Camera Obscura --- 8/10
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Catwoman 22 1/2
tedg9 August 2005
Story and tonewise this is halfway between "Repulsion" and "Baise Moi."

The setup is too simple to satisfy me, but what you look for in this kind of project are two possibilities.

The first has to do with the world that is created, that is inferred offscreen by the events you see. Does the world have a cosmology or mechanisms or gods that intrigue? That's what made "Repulsion" worthwhile. I've seen some cheap European girl revenge things that were cheap and poorly done but which inferred an intriguing world.

This misses on that score.

The other measure is whether the character of focus is intriguing in any way. And this one is. Zoe Lund creates a nearly perfect character before and after. It doesn't demand great acting of the ordinary kind. Instead it requires an ability to project a cinematic innocence. She does this. I liked "May" for the same reason.

It is what I think the "Catwoman" movie aimed for and so failed at. She's terrific. It isn't much as movies go, and the "stylish" last 10 minutes is inept. But she is striking. Now if we could only get today's version of her in a Hal Hartley film.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Slightly Above-Average Rape/Revenge Offering From Abel Ferrara
EVOL66629 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I know a lot of people have a soft-spot for this one...but looking at it in terms of what it is, and in comparison to other rape/revenge films, I personally found Ms. 45 a little lacking.

The story is about a mute girl who is raped on her way home from work, and when she gets home, she is raped again by a burglar who had broken into her apartment before she got home. Obviously, this broad is not having a very good day. She then goes on a revenge-spree - blowing away every guy she can with pretty much no discrimination. The ending is a little different than what you typically see from these offerings, but not enough to raise this one too high in my book...

First off, the film starts off strong, but quickly degenerates into just a bunch of guys getting shot by a woman who has pretty much lost her mind. As opposed to other films in this genre, the main character in this one blows away pretty much any male that she encounters, making her actions seem cheap and without real motive. I understand that she does this because she begins to see all men as a threat, but it still feels kinda cheap and weak.

Now on the good side, the transformation of the main character from weak and timid to fierce and fearless to completely insane is interesting to behold. Pre-rape, our character is an extremely, even painfully timid and shy girl who can barely look people in the eye. Post-rape, she becomes confident, I imagine seeing herself as an "avenging angel" for scorned women. And as she becomes more intertwined and taken over by her newfound strength, she spirals into complete insanity, in a scene involving a mirror, that is strangely reminiscent to Deniro's scene in Taxi Driver - minus that "Are you talking' to me?" dialog. Even with these strong points, Ms. 45 just feels too thrown together to be truly enjoyable, even as a rape/revenge film - and believe me, it's tough to say that because I LOVE this genre as a whole, as I love to watch chicks kick ass. Anyway, I would suggest Ferarra's BAD LIEUTENANT or his far superior KING OF NEW YORK (one of my all-time favorite films...) if you want to check out some of his other offerings. 6.5 for Ms. 45
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Almost impressive. Completely dead in the water.
Rodrigo_Amaro11 October 2013
The kind of plot that had everything to succeed but falls short of ideas and gives us less than nothing instead. A young mute woman (Zoë Lund) goes on a rampage of murdering men in the streets of New York after being victim sexually assaulted twice in a matter of minutes. At first, her victims are one of her rapists, misandrists, exploiters, pimps and men of whom women wouldn't want to get near but then after being addicted with all those killings she believes all men are evil and decides take down everyone she meets or gives her a cat-call.

This is a little better than the exploitation and gigantic waste of celluloid "I Spit on your Grave", because it's real, there's believable situations in this film. But the writer/director wants to leave this woman in the silence, and we're not even able to hear her inner thoughts and sympathize with her is very difficult, specially when she no longer can distinguish bad from good. "Sudden Impact" still remains the only good film with a similar theme but there was a good guy tracking down the female victim who decided to take revenge on her abusers, so Hollywood always messes up when it comes to leave a woman do the revenge by herself, only "Kill Bill" gets away.

"Ms. 45" isn't violent as it looks and it's only slightly impressive when she shoots all the guys - but we never know from where she got more and more bullets, and who gave her lessons on how to shoot (the scene in the park where she takes down a whole gang is amazing). And we're forced to bear with plenty of annoyance coming not only from the male chauvinist characters, but also from the main character's intrusive landlady and pretty much who appears in the film, not a single good character - oh yeah, there was one who tried to return her bag but then he got shot. One thing I don't get it: why a gay character (her boss at the shop clothes) is sexually interested on her? Who comes up with these ideas?

Here's a B movie poor of ideas and sequences only worthy because of some gorgeous cinematography. The rest? Strange acting, awful music cue whenever a gun is to be fired, a lousy excuse for a movie. Ferrara disappointing again although he gave a style to the movie that follows closely the main character's state of mind, a silent movie for the most scenes reaching terrifying levels with the sound of a .45 in the dark of night. "Death Wish" kind of movie, social commentaries on male's indecent behavior? Please, there's greater movies out there on the same topic. But in the end, here's another wake up call to all the guys who think themselves really big when they're next to women. Watch out, she may have a gun... 5/10
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Surprisingly good early Ferrara
maddening-111 February 2008
Reading through other reviews it seems a lot of people are hung up on this being a "revenge" picture or an "exploitation" picture. I think it's being far too narrow to call it either. Don't go into this expecting gore, sex, and action. This isn't that type of movie and if that's all you want out of it you're going to be disappointed. As revenge pictures go Ms.45 keeps the actual act being revenged brief, in the periphery, and basically just suggested and not explicitly shown. The real story here is what Thana does next, and then after that, and then after that. Watching someone who wasn't quite right to begin with (she was shut down and withdrawn from the beginning) choose their path in dealing what had happened to them was interesting. You go from rooting for her to eventually realizing how far wrong she's gone. It's a pretty stark victim to victimizer scenario but with Ferrara's fantastic camera work throughout. His love of New York really shines through as well. It's easy to see the film maker he was becoming. Ms. 45 isn't without its issues - but it's a surprisingly solid movie that sticks in your head for days.
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