This thriller focuses on the relationship between an unlucky in love guy and the man who teaches him every technique he knows in order to manipulate and control women. To get a clear idea of this immensely unpleasant guru it’s as if somebody took Tom Cruise’s T. J. Mackie from Magnolia and swapped his charm out for a volatile hatred of women. He is prone to lashing out at both women (and men) during his talks and one suspects that he gets a visceral Fight Club style thrill out of these confrontations. This is rarely a subtle depiction of misogyny, nor is it as layered as it could be, but you have to admire the ferocity with which it sets out to achieve its task.
One of the strongest aspects of Misogynist is its lead performance by Jon Briddell as the self-proclaimed guru. At his core he is all rage and fire and that burning hatred is barely suppressed by a sheen of smarmy and arrogant posturing. Briddell is able to really deliver on a performance that nails both of those warring character traits; he can be casually dishing out his advice to an audience within a scene but we can see a general anger and impatience constantly lingering in his eyes and we know that he could loose his cool at any moment. He never truly convinces as a figure who could inspire men to head out of his lessons and try to bend women to their will though, but that is more the fault of the script than Briddell’s work.
I indicated that the script has issues and it’s true that it does, but it’s also got a couple of things going for it. Firstly it’s actually pretty tightly controlled. For once I’m watching an independent thriller and it isn’t shooting off in a million different directions as the director tries to cram in every cool idea he or she has ever had. Misogynist knows exactly what it is aiming to achieve and doesn’t fill the film with any unnecessary sub-plots or meaningless characters. In fact if anything it almost restricts itself too much with its short 77 minute running time. The other main strength is that the film is character driven and that as the thriller evolves it all comes from a logical and understandable place that’s rooted in its characters and their demons.
The script’s problem lies in that it’s drawn a little too broadly; its guru is so extreme that he almost defies belief and every other male is shown to be either a monster who is willing to complete dominate women as the lower sex, or one in training. That’s not to say the film is in anyway misogynistic, the attitudes on display are clearly viewed as deplorable and it only paints such extreme portraits of these men in order to then tear them down and examine them. It’s just a shame that the film couldn’t dig a little deeper into its subject matter but as a simple and entertaining thriller it takes a subject that’s crucial to our times and uses it to build a rather unique take on the genre. Also praise has to be given to the film for not exploiting its actresses as it would be so easy for a film of this kind to justify nudity in order to make a social comment. Misogynist manages perfectly well despite keeping all of its casts clothes on, and that’s refreshing to see.
What is the film’s greatest strength? Hmm I guess I would say it is the character driven nature of the script.
Its greatest weakness? It’s too broadly drawn to truly dig deeply into its subject matter.
Would I see it again? I don’t think I would benefit from re-watching the film, which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it the first time around.
Thanks for reading, please do fire your thoughts out in the comment box below!