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November 6, 2015

Felt

by Franz Patrick


Felt (2014)
★ / ★★★★

Amy (Amy Everson) relives a trauma from her past, likely to be sexual in nature, on an every day basis and finds it increasingly difficult to remain connected to her reality. Receiving no form of psychiatric help, she eventually decides to become a superhero. On her spare time—which is plenty—she makes bizarre costumes and pretend plays in an isolated wooded area. After she meets a nice guy named Kenny (Kentucker Audley) who treats her well and is seemingly capable of understanding of her tragic past, Amy’s surefire breakdown is allayed—but not for long.

“Felt,” written by Jason Banker and Amy Everson, is a would-be psychological drama that accomplishes less than nothing. In fact, I found the picture to be quite offensive when it comes to its attitude toward rape victims. There is no real insight here; it is merely composed of long, boring scenes of a woman whom we wait to commit some form of sexual assault or murder. I found it repulsive, disgusting, a waste of film and time. It made me wish I did not commit to my rule of watching a film from beginning to end before writing a review. I itched to turn it off after about twenty minutes.

Feelings of revulsion aside, the picture is ineffectively shot. The subject itself is dark and it is compounded by a look so dreary, it makes cloudy days look like a perfect time to go outside, frolic, and play. There is no variation in the atmosphere—moments of genuine comedy, sweetness, surprise, or any other elementary human emotions one experiences on a daily basis—and so it is painful and tedious to sit through.

Although one may argue that such a monotonous approach fits how numb the subject feels, I argue that rape victims are still capable of feeling other emotions and so if the writers wish to present truths about them and/or their experiences, it must be put on film with clarity and honesty. Clearly the movie is not made for the purpose of entertainment—and it does not need to be—but a work must engage, compel, be an experience worth thinking about and feeling. Throughout the movie, not once do we get to empathize with Amy in a meaningful way—which is a critical misstep because one cannot help but wonder about the intentions of the filmmakers. Why are they telling this story?

My answer would be to capitalize on shock value. I was not impressed. It shows naked suits, various sex toys, breasts, even nude statues—but none of these things are able to get a reaction out of me. Maybe—maybe—teenagers or adults who have not really lived yet would be appalled by these images but not to the experienced eyes or those who are mature enough to see past the would-be dirty pictures, photographs, and icons. The only thing that shocked me is the filmmakers’ brazen attempt to stretch this worthless exercise—barely a short film in terms of context, intelligence, and ambition—into a full feature film.

Directed by Jason Banker, “Felt” features a sick fantasy about sexual trauma without narrative complexity that is necessary to warrant telling this specific story under such light. On top of it all is improvised dialogue so transparently dull and ordinary, I wondered if the filmmakers watched the final product on mute.

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