Deep Crimson

"OK"

Deep Crimson Review


Humanity has been attempting to explain evil since we climbed out of the sooty swamp water. From Balinese woodcarvings of gruesome crimes to modern 35mm Hollywood blockbusters about serial killers, we have a fascination with the darker side of life. It goes beyond myth, beyond religion and encompasses something innately human. Perhaps it has evolved from an animal instinct for protecting territory or securing a mate, whatever the impetus it has become a rampaging ship detached from its moorings. Violence assails out daily lives, and it's not just that the news is more prevalent than ever.

Many times violence is linked with politics, war, famine, natural disaster but sometimes it comes from nowhere and for no reason at all. This violence, the unexpected, the absurd, is most shocking. In her critical book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt outlined her thesis of the "banality of evil" to explain how the Nazis could murder 6 million Jews. Arndt believed that the evil of the Nazis was a banality to suffering and death - the failure of humanity to buck the system, to challenge immorality. The excuse, "everyone else was doing it," made the crimes all the more hideous.

The case of the "Honeymoon Killers," who murdered lonely women in a scheme for money in the 1940s, was one of the most bizarre serial crimes in American history; a story that could be subtitled, "the American dream meets the banality of evil." The killers were an odd pair, Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez, who met through the pages of a sleazy tabloid. Martha was overweight and lonely, Ray was a down-and-out hustler. They began their crime spree bilking single women but soon resorted to killing their victims, more out of jealously than to cover their tracks. Their subsequent capture and execution fascinated the public in the '40s and several films have been made of their crimes. Deep Crimson is the latest film to portray the murderous couple, and it is as grim and iniquitous as its protagonists.

In Arturo Ripstein's film, Martha is Coral, played by Opera singer Regina Orozco, Ray is Nicolas, here played by actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho. Orozco is a big woman, a homely woman, but the film doesn't take advantage of this and make her into a monster. Coral is weirdly distracted and violently temperamental, clearly schizophrenic. She drops her two children at an orphanage, in a heartbreaking sequence that left me (a father) sick to my stomach, and joins the balding Nicolas in a desperate scheme to swindle lonely women. Soon the bilking turns to murder and the film ends on a cruel, depressing note.

When Deep Crimson played theatrically there were walkouts. People couldn't handle the way the film approached its dark material with both a morbid humor and a grim violence. Mixing the two, dark comedy and bloody violence, has become a staple of underground, anarchistic films that smack the viewer while they're laughing. The goal is clear; the film wants the audience to second-guess itself, to become uncomfortable. It's been done countless times: from Un Chien Andalou to Man Bites Dog. The uncaring, banal killer has become almost formulaic. And the killers in Deep Crimson are cut from the same mold; they kill only because they can, because it's what they do. There is no right and wrong, only life and death. And even then life means very, very little.

Ripstein is one of, if not the, leading cinema auteur in Mexico. Having worked with Luis Buñuel in his youth and directed some of Mexico's most famed films; Ripstein has a filmography of works that are bleak and at times mordant. Deep Crimson fits perfectly in this oeuvre.

The human condition is such that our fascination with violence and evil tramples over our rational minds, our moral compasses. Ripstein attempts, and succeeds in varying degrees, to sublimate this obsession with violence. He, like provocateur Takashi Miike, wants to shock the audience and at the same time make them think twice. He wants to make them laugh and then make them sick to their stomachs for laughing. It's a cruel and bitter game without compassion. After the last gasp, the question remains: Why have we subjected ourselves to this film? I can't answer that.

Aka Profundo carmesí.



Deep Crimson

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 8th October 1997

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Arturo Ripstein

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.