Connect with us
Violation Review

Film

Violation is Uncompromising in Execution

TIFF 2020

Few films are as raw and uncompromising as Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli’s debut feature, Violation. Tackling the topical subject of sexual violence, abuse, and trauma, their film lays its main character emotionally bare and then plays with the formula of the rape revenge-thriller in interesting ways. Not afraid to just dwell in the moment, Violation is a nuanced and deeply unsettling look at the ways in which trauma festers and the difficult, if possible, path to catharsis.

Starring Sims-Fewer in the lead role as Miriam, her and her husband, Caleb (Obi Abili), are on their way to a cottage getaway to spend time with Miriam’s sister, Greta (Anna Maguire), and her significant other, Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe). As Miriam and Caleb try to navigate their own hardships, a single, harrowing event occurs at the cottage that leaves the relationships between the four forever strained. What begins to feel like a trip where feelings will be explored, becomes a source of trauma for Miriam that may never subside.

Set in the middle of the woods, near a lush lake, Violation is the type of film that knows the importance of setting to its themes. There’s a feeling of isolation and separation from the material world that seeps into the tone of the film. As Miriam clashes with everyone around her, she finds moments where she can feel comfortable asking questions and being herself. Conversations, whether argumentative in nature or sentimental, play out for an extended period of time. If it’s two characters walking in the woods, they’re going to talk for a while. It’s not necessarily related to the plot but provides a deeper understanding of their relationships in the ramp-up to a moment of absolute betrayal.

Violation

Not much can be said without necessarily spoiling the events of the film, but needless to say, there is an inciting act of sexual violence that is not easy to watch but is also not necessarily graphic. The scene goes on for a while, but Sims-Fewer and Mancinelli capture it with a blend of graceful unpleasantness. Characters voices are muffled under the sound of the woods, and the camera often moves between looking elsewhere and zooming in so much to those involved that it’s disorienting. Easily one of the better, more tasteful depictions of something so horrendous.

It also wastes little time getting to the act but also wastes less time warning you that it’s coming. Violation is fascinating from a structural point-of-view. It plays with the timeline of events so that once you realize the chronology it makes complete sense why it’s structured the way it is. The editing from Gabriella Wallace goes a long way to giving Violation its own identity and setting itself apart from the standard rape-revenge thriller arc.

This genre in particular is always a tricky one and honestly, usually uncomfortable to sit through, even with revenge being promised. The breath of fresh air that Violation delivers is that each of the four characters in the film are explored in meaningful, interesting ways. When relationships are either broken or tested, it isn’t a yes-or-no outcome. Concepts like victim-blaming exemplify how thoroughly examined sexual violence is in the film. That doesn’t mean that there is no right-or-wrong in the situation, but that the film doesn’t want to just tell you that a character is bad – they want you to know what makes a bad character do bad things, and how that decision can impact those around them in different ways.

Violation

Violation has a hefty weight on its shoulders, but it carries it with an unmistakable confidence. Aided by Sims-Fewer’s fearless performance and a unique structure that makes things more uncomfortable than vile, there will be many people that find the realism here hard to stomach. What makes it palatable for me is that it is saying so much more than this genre normally does, with maybe the last great addition being Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge. It goes to show that when a subject matter like this is treated with much more sensitivity and doesn’t feel like it’s being exploitative for the sake of it, it can really go a long way.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 23, 2020, as part of our coverage of the 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Now Streaming

Written By

Chris is a graduate of Communications from Simon Fraser University and resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Given a pint, he will talk for days about action films, video games, and the works of John Carpenter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook

Trending

Review Bombing Review Bombing

The Rings of Power and Review Bombing: The Online A-Bomb

Culture

HBO MAX/DISCOVERY HBO MAX/DISCOVERY

WTH is Going on with HBO Max/Discovery?

Culture

BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022 BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022

Best AEW PPV Matches of 2022 (So Far)

Wrestling

Project Wolf Hunting Project Wolf Hunting

Project Wolf Hunting is a Bloody and Entertaining Midnight Delight

Film

While We Watched While We Watched

While We Watched Reveals the Destabilization of Democracy in India

Film

Cheers Pilot Review - Give Me A Ring Sometime Cheers Pilot Review - Give Me A Ring Sometime

Cheers: ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ is the Definitive Sitcom Pilot

TV

L.A. Confidential Directed by Curtis Hanson L.A. Confidential Directed by Curtis Hanson

25 Years Later: L.A. Confidential is Hollywood’s last great noir

Friday Film Noir

Eastern Promises (2007) Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises at 15: Cronenberg’s Gangster Triumph 

Film

Marvel D3 2022 Marvel D3 2022

A Breakdown Of Every Marvel Studios Announcement At D23

Culture

Anvil! The Story of Anvil Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story of Anvil — The Inspiring Story of the Canadian 80s Metal Band

Film

Corsage movie review Corsage movie review

Corsage is a Lush Portrait of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

Culture

The Lost King review The Lost King review

The Lost King is an Unlively Attempt at Revisionism

Culture

Emily movie review Emily movie review

Emily is a Rapturous Evocation of Brontë’s Artistic Discoveries

Film

film critcis film critcis

Did “Infantalized” Critics kill John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven? Better Question: Do Critics Reviews Really Matter?

Culture

Muru Muru

Muru Surfaces a Century of Discrimination

Film

Orcs! Orcs!

The Rings of Power: “Udûn” Finally Raises Hell

Culture

Connect