Archive for Vincent D'Onofrio

SITGES PT. IV: CHAINED, Jennifer Lynch (2012)

Posted in Drama, Horror, Serial Murders, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

After the previous posts talking about films I didn’t feel passionate for, now it’s time to focus on those which fully earned my respect and recognition. Not only mine by the jury at different categories, which make me feel better meaning my taste and judgment is not so crappy as I might have thought.

Chained was one of the main movies I wanted to watch badly for many reasons. On one hand because Jennifer Lynch is David’s daughter, second because I had recently revisited Surveillance, the film which also awarded in Sitges 4 years ago, and I still enjoyed it, and because disturbing Vincent D’Onofrio was the main actor.

In the era of downloadings and streaming, and because Spain is at the back of the queue in screening speaking terms, there were people who had already watched. A wide range of opinions was floating, and I decided not to take them for granted.

Chained was the first movie in Sitges, and was also the first time I attended a screening with the director introducing the film to the audience. Jennifer Lynch explained the film was about how real monsters are made, and finished asking people to medidate on how we raise our kids nowadays, implying the importance of behavior and discipline, and other concepts she left open to our thinking.

On any random Saturday evening, Sarah (Julia Ormond) and his 9 year-old son Tim, take a cab to get back from the mall, after her husband insists them not to take the bus for not being safe. At some point Sarah panics when trying to stop the cab driver, who’s completely diverted from the route and is taking them to a house in the middle of nowhere.

Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) tortures and brutally kills her, and adopts Tim, renamed as Rabbit, as his slave, after apologizing for not being part of the plan. He will have to do the cleaning, serve him the food, update the newspaper clippings album with stuff related to his victims, and many other terrible things. One word, one forbidden action, and he’ll be fucked up. The servant is watched and recorded by hidden cameras so Bob knows what he does all the time. in a moment of desperation, Rabbit tries to get away but his master is waiting for him, and his punishment will mean carrying a long and heavy chain round his ankle for many years.

Rabbit (Eamon Farren) grows up, and Bob, who is keeping his routine of abducting young girls for his feast of sex, torture and murder, starts thinking of the teenager as his successor, and starts educating him and giving him more privileges. Should he follow the steps of his master? Should he rebel against evil? Raised in an environment of horror, murder and insanity, there aren’t many options.

Disturbing, claustrophobic, insane, terrifying… Lynch was right about the making of monsters. A kid raised cleaning blood puddles, burying corpses of the young victims, being conscious of being locked up while his dad is looking for him, and serving the serial killer who killed his mother… He’s to be stigmatized for life, probably developing all kind of mental issues, and the question of following the pattern he’s been witnessing for so long time, well, seems hard to escape from that fate.

Regarding the reflection on how to raise children, you’ll see and understand what she meant. At the end of the day, children are information sponges, and everything they see, especially if impressive, remains in their memories forever.

The basis of Chained is the relationship between the serial killer and the kid. There are brief characters, which end up buried under the house. It’s outstanding the tension between them, the evolution of both characters after so many years, and the final kind of tenderness Bob feels towards Rabbit, thinking of him as part of him.

Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing. It’s impossible not to remember him as Pvt. Gome Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, the agony of being bullied and fucked up by his instructor till he blows his head. I can’t forget his face. This time he’s this cab driver, who abducts girls, tortures them and finally kills them. Why? As usual it has to be with childhood trauma. Growing in certain conditions can be mind overwhelming and he just became a serial killer, with the perfect system, starting with his job and the car, to fulfill his needs with total impunity. Bob’s personality and life is absolutely plain except for his secret. Doesn’t talk to much, doesn’t have vices, it’s a very square and monotonous, and hasn’t any passions or hobbies. He’s a grey guy.

What about Rabbit? He’s deprived of any self-thinking, he’s locked down and chained, he cannot talk unless asked, he cannot eat until Bob has finished his meal, and once he’s done he will have the leftovers…when his Master gives him anatomy books to study, he just devours them. He doesn’t want to end as his “stepfather”, but it’s difficult to rebel against the one who’s got the power. How long will he manage to stand firm?

I’m sure Chained is the kind of film which will not leave you indifferent, it’s impossible. It reflects this type of horror which could be real, or at least its origin is too common nowadays. The conclusion of the film left me speechless too. I was in shock.

If you watch it, be in the mood for feeling uneasy, because you will for sure. Still, Chained is a good film supported with great performances and the suffocating atmosphere created. Jennifer Lynch, well done!

FULL METAL JACKET, Stanley Kubrick 1987

Posted in Drama, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , on May 22, 2009 by Toi Brownstone


Just before watching Apocalypse Now we decided to review Full Metal Jacket, another classic in war movies I’ve seen many times. Somebody told me it’s outdated and has lost all the effectiveness with the passing of time, I don’t agree, in fact I still enjoy watching it, although I must reckon the more I watch it, the longer it seems to me.


As usual, Stanley Kubrick’s point of view is very subjective and he creates his own world and his own Vietnam conflict as to reflect what he seems to think about it. You can agree with that, or find everything twisted and exaggerated, but I like it and it’s worth seeing it.


The story is clearly divided into two parts, the training and the combat, all narrated through the eyes of Private Joker (Matthew Modine), a know-it-all guy who, compared to the rest of the company, seems the most intelligent one with something to tell.


Recruits arrive to the Marine Corps training camp to be trained and even humiliated   by brutal Gunnery Sargeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). After process of blending the human beings into soldiers, and losing any kind of identity, the only way to distinguish one from another is by the nicknames put by Hartman, thus there are Cowboy, Joker and the black sheep and object of all mistreatments, Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio).


Here's my riffle, here's my gun...

Here's my riffle, here's my gun...


This guy is overweighed and quite slow and dumb, likely a borderline retarded, almost a vegetable which does not feel nor think much, just to be commanded and obey. As the law of the strength and masculinity rules, he immediately becomes the centre of Hartman’s mocks and because of his lack of agility and his stupidity, his superior decides to punish the rest of the company for all his mistakes or faults, thus, he becomes the most hated private not only by the sergeant but also by his colleagues, who at some point, decide to take revenge. By the time the training finishes, Pyle has suffered a complete transformation being a perfect killing machine but totally insane in the brain, celebrating his graduation with a terrible and impressive ending.

Once training has been completed, soldiers are directly sent to Vietnam. At this time, Joker has become war correspondent with Stars and Stripes and does not share his initial idea of becoming a Marine for killing. Due to some disagreement with his superior’s ideas of covering news and events he’s sent to the hot area of Phu Bai, for writing a paper where he will live the actual cruelty  of war in first person. 

As a two-segment movie, I personally prefer the first part, on which more psychological aspect is depicted. Second part rhythm is too slow although oppresive atmosphere is very well created and the end is powerful. 

Camera work is outstanding, I really enjoy with the barrack scenes, the lighting is very cool at night, don’t know how to explain but find this part absolutely appealing. I definitely must enlighten myself by reading something about techniques. 

Regarding performances, Vicent d’Onofrio and R. Lee Ermey are positively the best, and portrait their characters providing them of clear personalities, essential for the conclusion of the first part. 

Is the American Army objectively depicted? We’ve seen hundreds of militar harrassment stories in movies, and even in real life, we sometimes hear things, not only internal scandals but tortures inflicted to prisoners. it’s something to think about, really. 

Anyway, Full Metal Jacket is a must see, a war movie but also a reflection on real life, one of these stories wchich, once finished, can encourage you to deep thoughts.