Notable Cast: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic
Review: If A Serbian Film doesn’t disturb you, please kindly re-evaluate your mental health. This sick and twisted tale will force imagery upon you you’ll never un-see no matter how hard you try. Spasojevic created an exercise in extremism that carries underlying messages about the social state of Serbia and its politics, literally showing us you’re fucked from birth to death. But he chooses to convey his propaganda in such a shockingly unnerving way that most viewers won’t be able to get past the painstakingly raw footage depicted on screen. Be it an atrocity or brilliance, I actually forgot at times I was watching a cinematic movie and thought I was tricked into watching some psychotically depraved snuff film. The close minded should not even try to digest A Serbian Film, as you will write this off as horrifyingly offensive no questions asked. Even some who consider themselves open-minded will be completely turned off by the visuals Spasojevic throws at us. Please, do not think I enjoyed A Serbian Film in the least bit, being just as shaken as the next person. One viewing is the max number possible, with most not being able to even make it the full-time. As fair warning, Spasojevic deals with topics such as necrophilia, snuff porn, torture porn, sodomy, incest, child-birth, and rape in plain view. There are no boundaries he’s afraid to cross as he forces our main character into each jaw-droppingly grotesque situation, each becoming darker than the last. But despite how much Spasojevic uses shock and awe to try and show the rest of the world the depressingly horrific state of being a Serbian citizen, the context of the film plays along with his message. Did he have to dive as far as he did off the deep end? I don’t know, but A Serbian Film surely wouldn’t be receiving such recognition based on controversy if he didn’t. It’s such a hot button movie people are watching just to see the hype sparking discussions around the world. For better or worse, Spasojevic is getting his views out there to the public, proving that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Milos (Todorovic) is an ex-porn star turned family man, living off the savings kept from the multiple legendary porn films he starred in. With the reserve for his family dwindling, he hears through a porn star friend of a new artistic porn that would pay a handsome sum. Milos loves his family and has no desire to return to the industry, but it’s his love for this family that also encourages him to meet with a man only named Vukmir (Trifunovic). He explains that he participates in a more realistic and professionalized porn with actual story and emotion, but cannot divulge the details so Milos can have an authentic reaction. After raising some concerns to his wife, she gives her blessing and Milos accepts Vukmir’s offer. But Milos soon discovers there’s a reason Vukmir was keeping the details a secret, and Milos begins to fear where Vukmir’s twisted mind is going next. Relying on information from his cop brother Marko (Slobodan Bestic), Milos tries his hardest to get out, but Vukmir will do anything to keep him.
It’s so hard to write this review because I don’t want to come out and say this is a good movie or a bad movie. I was repulsed by the heinous acts Milos was committing on-screen, and even more disgusted that a director could include such revolting ways to convey a message that was supposed to show the plight of the common Serbian. But in the way the metaphor structures itself, everything happens in a chaotically driven path. There is a hidden meaning to everything Milos endures as hard as it is to watch. I liken A Serbian Film to The Human Centipede: First Sequence in the way that it’s the anti-Human Centipede. There were no layers to Centipede, just the shock value of watching a crazy German doctor sew a bunch of people ass to mouth. No message, no hidden meaning, just a sick wet dream from the mind of deranged lunatic. A Serbian Film was at least crafted with a goal in mind, and its dizzying creation into a mortifying tornado of sexual violence was actually with specific intentions. You have to dig deep to tap into the underlying message and get past what is taken at face value, but the actual overall meaning of A Serbian Film was in tact. Now again, I’m in NO WAY defending the brutality displayed in this film, but at least it had meaning. At least there was a backing reason to cause such a controversy and insight such rage.
In all honesty though, the acting from Srdjan Todorovic as Milos was very provocative and full of emotion, and deserves recognition. To even have to pretend to endure the hardships Milos had to is impressive in its own right. But when Milos goes into his berserker mode, Todorovic displays such a maniacal insanity that his intensity is one of the scariest parts of the film. Todorovic brings Milos to life with a chilling realism that makes his character reflect the monster that gets created, which started with the best of intentions. Todorovic evokes the pain Milos endures for the betterment of his family so well, and creates a deep inner struggle within the character of Milos. He hits on a bevy of emotions and truly gives a performance that adds both to the credibility and disturbing reality of the film.
But like I said, there’s just no way for me to rate this film. I will admit this; in my opinion, it was well done. I’ll say it. But that doesn’t mean enjoyment or entertainment can be found. This isn’t a movie I can pop in with some fellow horror lovers and have a fun time with. I’ll admit I almost gave in to switching it off numerous times, but just had to see where Spasojevic was going next. A Serbian Film will rock you to your core, and make you feel for a film like you never thought possible. It’s more of a test of will for those looking for variety. Spasojevic uses extreme exploitation, and hits you with an ending so vile, the only emotion capable of escaping will be breath snatching disbelief mixed with pure disgust. No words can describe it, although I tried. I open myself to any type of film, so I made it a point to sit through A Serbian Film no matter what. But in all honesty, I don’t recommend this film to many. I know a few cinephiles who could handle this subjectivity, but the vast majority who are common movie goers will be rendered helpless by what A Serbian Film has to offer. I’d never tell anyone to avoid a film outright and always encourage each person to form their own opinion, but for once I think I have to. If you’re sitting and still saying to yourself “I want a movie that will push me farther than I ever thought possible, heck yes I’m checking this out,” then more power to you. I’ve warned all I could, and the decision is yours. But please, don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s NC-17 for a reason. You think you’ve seen everything, but A Serbian Film begs to differ.
Final Rating: How can you rate this? Consider this article more along the lines of advice…
Crazy, crazy, crazy Serbians…