“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” Groucho Marx has a deeper philosophy than this film.
When I get a link for a film, I look for the appropriate IMDb page. Partly to see if I recognise any of the cast, but mainly to make sure I’ve got the right film, so that the tech people at RunPee Towers can get the correct artwork to make these articles look professional (thanks Dan!).
Obviously, you also tend to catch a glimpse of the summary, and I had high hopes for Flesh Is Heir To when I saw the one for it. It says… “A unique cinema tour de force from Cinema eVerite’, “Flesh Is Heir To” is a unique psychological thriller delving into the feminine psyche and societal sexuality standards.” So that sounds very high brow and intense… it isn’t.
The storyline repeats that sentence and follows it with more of the same, with fulsome compliments for the director; Dale A Johnson, D Allen Johnson, or Dale Johnson… take your pick. Now you can call me a cynical old sod if you like, but I have more than a wee bit of a hunch that both the summary and the storyline were written by the same person. I’d also be prepared to bet that, if it wasn’t actually typed by Mr Johnson, he probably dictated it.
So What’s Wrong With It All?
Maybe I’ve spent too long working for left leaning councils with comprehensive equal opportunities policies, but I tend to be very suspicious of a project that claims to be “delving into the feminine psyche” but is written and directed by a man. Especially one that spends a lot of camera time on naked and semi-naked women, which seem to have little to do with the story. The story claims to be an “erotic neo noir thriller,” but it fails spectacularly to meet those assertions; it’s not erotic, Neo-noir is now such a diluted term that it’s meaningless, and the thrills are few and far between.
There’s more to eroticism than naked bodies and badly lit thrusting. Eroticism is more to do with suggesting sexual acts, rather than showing them for longer than is necessary. Robert Arnett (in “Eighties Noir: The Dissenting Voice in Reagan’s America”) says, “Neo-noir has become so amorphous as a genre/movement, any film featuring a detective or crime qualifies,” so I guess that claim stands up.
The thrills, such as they are, are lacklustre and, well, not thrilling.
Then there are things that are ludicrous — and even one that is downright dangerous.
There’s new detective Charlie Black (Heather Michelle), teamed up with world weary, more experienced detective Captain Walker (Adam Braunstein). Despite a bumpy start, they settle into each other’s routines and beds. Then there’s CeCe Blair (Louisa DeButts) who’s the only theoretical physicist I’ve ever seen who, apparently, has no books. She has a revelation/breakdown where she’s naked, amidst loads of cuttings and articles, realising she has a vagina… honest.
The whole film is filled with random stock images, nude women, and badly written dialogue that’s equally badly delivered; I could spend ten minutes on the CERN website and come away sounding more like a theoretical physicist.
Oh… the dangerous thing?
CeCe decides solar flares are having an effect on her, so she tries to monitor when they’re happening. To do this she looks at the Sun… through a telescope! That should carry a public health warning.
[Editor’s note: to be fair, the movie does show the telescope featuring safe solar viewing practices that I recognized. However, I’m an amateur astronomer who used to work at Astro Camp. Several non-astronomy-related viewers commented to me that this scene looked super unsafe. It would have behooved the script to address the expensive filters applied here, verbally, in the script.]
I’m prepared to forgive a lot, like the strangely quiet NYPD station, excessive use of stock footage, poor acting, and semi-constant nudity as a distraction, because of the very low (est. $100,000) budget, but you’d think that the director could pull off a simple two shot without the extras wandering into the frame, or reshoot a scene where an actor had fluffed their line, rather than just include it.
Movie Grade: D-
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!