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Awesome: 26.09%
Worth A Look54.35%
Just Average: 2.17%
Pretty Crappy: 4.35%
Sucks: 13.04%

3 reviews, 28 user ratings

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Alexandra's Project
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by Dr Nick

"Cruel but powerful revenge thriller"
4 stars

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2003: Extremely cruel film about revenge in a marriage that's gone horribly wrong. Almost unbearable to watch at times, it's a powerful film about male-female relations, where everyone's a victim.

Steve knows his marriage is not great. Alexandra, his wife, is constantly depressed and has turned their home into a high-security prison with automatic metal blinds at all doors and windows. But, with a promotion coming up, Steve believes things are about to change. And it's his birthday today. What can possibly go wrong?

As he gets back from work, expecting a surprise birthday party, he finds the house empty with new locks fitted. He manages to get inside and is greeted by a video cassette, childishly labeled "Play me". First, it's a video taped message from his family. Then the children leave and Alexandra takes over. She is not happy, and after a decade of living in an unhappy marriage, she has prepared a revenge. It's not gonna be a happy birthday.

Rolf de Heer's thriller is set in an Australian suburb. We know from the start more about Steve's marriage than he does. Alexandra is watching her husband sleep. She looks bitter and disgusted. She spits in the mirror, talking to herself: "Sorry, Steve," only to follow up with, "No, never be sorry". She's not a happy bunny.

The film is structured brilliantly. Things are not as good as they could be. But, Steve loves their children, and they seem to enjoy his company. Alexandra is depressed at the fact that Steve is the sole bread winner in the house and refuses to give her any financial responsibilities. She is not even allowed to pay the bills. You can't help but notice that she is crying out for help and wants to give him a last chance. If he would have given her the money to pay the bills that morning, would she have gone ahead with her plan? Who knows?

Director de Heer never gives away too much, leaving us guessing until the very end. He's playing with the audience's emotions as much as she is playing with Steve's. A romantic striptease is cruelly interrupted by Alexandra stating that she has breast cancer and will have her breasts removed later in the week. As Steve begins to cry, she reveals that she's only joking. Oh boy, Steve's never going to forget this birthday.

Shot in a completely dark house (Alexandra has removed all the light bulbs) with the blue glow from the television as the only light source, it's a brilliantly paced unpredictable thriller. Extremely cruel at points, the psychological torture she puts him through is reminiscent of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," although here both sides are to blame for the situation they're in.

It's hard to take sides when watching "Alexandra's Project." Alexandra's revenge seem very harsh and you feel that their problems are the same as any other couple. She feels that he views her as a piece of meat, used only for loveless sex. She has tried to talk to him, but he never listens and believes that there's nothing wrong with her that a little Prozac couldn't fix.

Although you feel that they could have sorted this out in a civilised matter, talking, listening, maybe even see a marriage councilor, you also accept that some people would just never do that, and would rather keep their anger and frustration inside. Until one day, when it might just erupt.

A stylish and tense thriller, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Now, that's an original tag line! No, seriously...the film is pretty creepy.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7504&reviewer=345
originally posted: 07/21/03 07:21:42
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
For more in the Australian series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/29/05 Bob Norris Mental castration and eternal remorse 5 stars
1/13/05 Gullytrap Alexandra's next project: How to stop Rolf de Heer making any more films. 1 stars
12/28/04 Abdullah Khamis landmark 5 stars
7/30/04 Vinny Brillant. I loved it ! 5 stars
7/04/04 Lyn Utterly brilliant 5 stars
7/02/04 Coach loved it. something different 4 stars
6/20/04 Stuart What a bitch! 3 stars
5/28/04 Gina Compelling and disturbing 4 stars
4/10/04 A (female/ non-conservative Great idea/ acting but not convincing. Revange too harsh for his crimes. wife not believabl 2 stars
3/21/04 Elle Anee A plight of many women...only this one snapped. Men, treat your women well! 5 stars
1/25/04 Sensei Misansry, feminism, leftism 1 stars
1/21/04 S Sas, you justn't hear the movie over your rumbling tummy 1 stars
1/20/04 Sas Tedious and ugly. Hated it. 1 stars
1/16/04 Brooke Cale This movie is unbearably tense from the beginning to the end. This is a GEM of a film!!! 5 stars
1/14/04 Marcc Paquette Excellent direction; nice "ambiance" 4 stars
12/20/03 ian duncanson challenging, well-produced film 4 stars
9/02/03 Mark Davis Well, it ain't pretty, but is engrossing. Buday is exceptional. 4 stars
8/14/03 TonyH If Steve thinks this is scary wait for the sequel staring the FLC/C$A 5 stars
8/07/03 PAIGE LACEY GREAT 4 stars
6/29/03 mcb I actually thought it was very misogenistic and am surprised by people calling it feminist. 2 stars
6/19/03 Sarah Davis Gary Sweet is a fantastic actor and this role just proves it 5 stars
5/25/03 Allison Distressing and horrible. An ugly film that went too far in trying to be 'on the edge' 1 stars
5/25/03 Stephen Clements Confronting film, awesome 5 stars
5/15/03 Kevin Corcoran an interesting pschological thriller, don't let your wife see this one 5 stars
5/15/03 stevied a harrowing emotional challenge 5 stars
5/12/03 jenny andersen exploitation dressed up as social comment - dishonest 1 stars
5/11/03 John Bale Pedestrian bleak marriage breakdown thriller, lifted by Budays amazing performance 4 stars
5/05/03 Elendil Forget it if you can't deal w/ a fem-perspective-just call her whiny b* and have a XXXX. 5 stars
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  08-May-2003 (MA)

Directed by
  Rolf de Heer

Written by
  Rolf de Heer

  Gary Sweet
  Helen Buday
  Bogdan Koca
  Jack Christie
  Samantha Knigge

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