Wednesday 23 August 2023

Movie Review: Ms .45 (1981)

Also Known As: Angel Of Vengeance
Genre: Exploitation Revenge Thriller
Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Zoë Tamerlis
Running Time: 80 minutes

Synopsis: Thana (Zoë Tamerlis) is a mute young seamstress working in New York's garment district. She is raped by a back-alley assailant, then as soon as she stumbles into her apartment, raped again by a lurking burglar. She kills the burglar with an iron, keeps his gun, chops up his body, and over the coming days disposes of the pieces throughout the city. When another hoodlum chases her in the streets, she shoots him dead and initiates a one-woman wave of revenge killings targeting sleazy men.

What Works Well: Abel Ferrara's independent low-budget production turns Death Wish into a tale of feminist rage spiced with often horrific, sometimes gargoylian violence. Zoë Tamerlis packs immense power into a silent yet unforgettably haunting performance, portraying Thana as a tragic observer, protagonist, and ultimately self-appointed street cleaner. The best men in Nicholas St. John's script are lecherous creeps, and the male predators come in various guises, including street goons, a sleazy fashion photographer, a pimp, gang members, and Thana's deceitful boss. The nosy landlady and her yappy dog are yet another source of irritation, and only Thana's co-workers, especially the feisty Laurie, offer hope of lingering rational humanity. Stylized cinematography and a brash music score add impressive punctuation marks.

What Does Not Work As Well: The short duration and hectic pacing eliminate any opportunities for backstories, and it's not clear where Thana obtains the endless supply of bullets.

Conclusion: When all men are pests, beware the exterminator.

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