Mr Pervers is a curious film. It’s a mish mash, a hotch potch of strikingly different philosophies, and it doesn’t always hang together. For every moment that brings to mind the thrilling, maverick nonchalance of Lars Von Trier, Takashi Miike or Shinya Tsukamoto, there’s another that brings to mind the cynical, overcooked excess of Michael Bay or George Lucas. Nowhere is this dichotomy more apparent than in the performance of striking leading lady Susi Hotkiss. Susi Hotkiss as a performer blows hot and cold. In smaller budget, more independent films like Antichrist, Paris, Texas and Anal Farmyard 2 she’s proven herself an engaging, thrilling performer, bringing both sass and vulnerability to the characters she portrays. However in bigger budget fare like Jurassic Park 3, Transformers and Sheisse Auf Der Fuhrer she seems lost, unsure what to do in such an impersonal, money driven feature. She seems to be the latter here, looking lost when confronted with an 11 inch penis. Hotkiss isn’t the only problem though.
Mr Pervers is a high concept piece of drama, inspired equally by kitchen sink dramas like Lindsay Anderson’s This Sporting Life and confessional americana features like Todd Solonz’s Happiness. It focusses on a young group of individuals who stay at a lodge in a relatively uninhabited countryside. These young people clearly seek respite and seclusion from the grind of their normal lives. So far, so typical. However things take a turn for the sinister when the caretaker Mr Pervers reveals himself to be a repressed, mentally ill sex fiend. This is where the film jars. In between the more tender scenes of exposition, confession and anal penetration, there are scenes where Mr Pervers runs in and ruins everything. One scene has him forcing a clearly disgusted Hotkiss to bring him to orgasm with her hand, and it detracts heavily from the carefully considered characterisation that preceded it. Just moments before, Hotkiss’s character and Gunther, her companion, had confessed for each other their mutual attraction. After taking a load in the face, Hotkiss and Gunther share a tender kiss and have a cuddle. The brutish sexality of Mr Pervers himself just is not inkeeping with the tone of much of the film.
Another example turns up later, when young Mindy, who’s just gone through a heart wrenching breakup, seeks solitude in her room. Mr Pervers, completely oblivious to her suffering , unsubtly sticks his fist right up her. It’s this callousness that casts a shadow over the few bright spots in the film.
It’s a mess aesthetically as well as thematically. First time director Eckhardt McFistus has talent, but he’s horribly inconsistent. Admittedly, he has a real eye for scope. He manages to capture the grandeur of the German countryside beautifully, and he frames Hotkiss’s heaving jiggling titties perfectly, but his lack of experience shines through during the stilted conversation scenes, which often feature actors staring vacantly out of windows, mindlessly going through their vacuous dialogue.
Maybe this is deliberate. Maybe McFistus is saying that we’re animals, that it’s impossible for any of us to really engage each other on a truly meaningful level. We’re pieces of meat, and trying to act otherwise results in heartache, ennui, and torn sphinctors. Whatever he’s trying to say, it’s lost, thanks to the muddled execution.
Film fans may find admirable traits about Mr Pervus, but as a hole, it just doesn’t add up.