DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Carlos and Jason Sanchez - 2018

"Dirty gem"
When does suffering become a communal duty? Laura is a manipulative female whose hefty demands emotionally drain and sexually exhaust her younger partner, in brilliant Canadian drama - in cinemas Friday, May 18th

This is the story of 30-year-old Laura (Eva Rachel Wood), a woman with a troubled past who befriends unhappy 16-year-old Eva (Julia Sarah Stone). Presenting herself as a friendly confidante, she encourages the teenager to runaway from home and stay at her house. It is not long before the older woman is forced to resort to emotionally exploitative tactics to make Eva stay, and a dysfunctional relationship of co-dependency, emotional and sexual, develops between the two women.

The inference of suffering is integral to writer and directors Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s drama. Just as the notion of man born of original sin, the need for conflict or provocation in storytelling casts it with its own form of inevitable anguish. Here it is a resource for Wood to lose herself within a compelling character and the two storytellers to construct a dark dramatic character study around.

In spite of her dubious manipulative tactics, Laura’s emphasis of ‘choice’ stresses the reality that suffering is not only individual, but communal. And as the story of the relationship with her father and Eva unfolds, the complex concept of liberation from individual, as well as communal suffering emerges to form a key philosophical theme of the drama. Whilst the famous line from Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion reads “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”, in the shadow of Allure, the tangled web is not solely woven through deception, but fractured relationships and a conflict of needs and a sense of happiness – the contentious nature of human relationships.

Confident in its restraint, this character study unfolds like an unsettling piece of music, the rhythm ominously ‘piano’ (soft) with occasional ‘forte’ (loud) peaks. It has that feel of a film that thwarts expression, a film one almost feels with the mind and the senses; a stifling experience that is disquieting, yet also evokes pathos. Wood delivers a performance of sustained conviction, yet acknowledgement should duly be paid to Stone and Denis O’Hare (Laura’s father) for their noteworthy and poised performances that are vital to the impression forged by Wood. The success of the film is in the reflection on suffering, to anchor the drama in the realm of ideas.

One of the most effective aspects of the Allure is the emphasis on Laura’s emotional and sexual needs, and how her relationship with Eva addresses the human tendency to turn a person into a possession; an object which fills one’s life. This touches upon perception and how one person sees another person within their interpersonal dynamic. In this type of story, there is typically that defining moment in which the camera will frame the predatory character watching their naïve prey. It is a single moment that ensures a feeling of completeness, or so it feels, capturing in a single sequence the pure visual spiritual essence of the story.

Allure is a film that demands the engagement of its audience: spectatorial lethargy is poison to the intent of this filmmaker. The overriding concern is whether it has anything new to express on the subject of abuse, yet we must keep in mind that one dimension of storytelling is about confronting the dark realities. It is not the sole responsibility of the filmmaker to offer commentary, or to make concluding statements. The strength of presence of storytelling and art is to humanise or familiarise even those realities that are not our own. Hence, Allure can only be exploitative of its subject if we its audience fail to engage and contemplate the insight into human nature that it offers. This is in spite of never being able to express the reality victims of abuse suffer, nor should it, as art is only a mirror to suffering.

The Canadian drama Allure is out in cinemas across the UK on Friday, May 18th.

"Dirty gem"

By Paul Risker - 17-05-2018

By Paul Risker - 17-05-2018

Paul Risker is an English born scholar, film critic and editor with a postgraduate Masters in Fil...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

Never Steady, Never Still

Kathleen Hepburn

Victor Fraga - 18-04-2018

Rural Canada provides a serene backdrop to grief-ridden family drama about young widow with advanced Parkinson's disease and a introverted and confused son - in cinemas Friday, April 20th and then on VoD the following week [Read More...]

It’s Only The End of The World (Juste la Fin du Monde)

Xavier Dolan

Maysa Monção - 19-10-2016

Who the hell stole my play? Maysa Monção writes a letter to the late French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce letting him know that Xavier Dolan did a great job adapting his masterpiece to the silver screen; you wouldn't want the poor man rolling in his coffin! Available now on Mubi [Read More...]

All Sorts

J. Rick Castaneda

Redmond Bacon - 20-10-2021

The banality and beauty of office work expertly intertwines in this absurdist filing competition comedy - from the Raindance Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *