BOOK OF REVELATION, THE: DVD
Daniel (Tom Long) is a serious, adventurous modern dancer and choreographer at the studio of his long time mentor, Isabel (Greta Scacchi), where his dance partner Bridget (Anna Torv) is also his lover. When Daniel disappears one afternoon on a supposedly short errand, little do his fellow dancers or his friends know that he's been abducted by three masked women who take him to a warehouse and use him as a sex toy, degrading him and keeping him chained. Dumped out of a van some days later, Daniel is so traumatized he cannot return to dancing, and lives in suspended animation while imagining that he sees his tormentors everywhere. When he meets Julie (Deborah Mailman), her dark skin gives him a sense of safety, but the demons won't let go.
Review by Louise Keller:
Provocative, explicit and confronting, The Book of Revelation is a bit like an erotic dream, in which the mysteries of dance merge with violent sex with strangers as we search for the inner soul. Director Ana Kokkinos teams with screen writer Andrew Bovell to deliver red-hot intensity on screen. Visually breathtaking, the direction is assured, albeit cohesion is missing between the film's different sections. The leap from the world of dance to ones of sexual fantasy, mystery, drama, romance, friendship and emotional obsession is a gigantic one. While the written word of the novel may allow nimble minds to make huge leaps on the wings of imagination, successfully connecting all the strands cinematically is a far greater challenge.
It's easy to seduce an audience with sex, says Greta Scacchi's Isabel after the sensual, slow dance routine, in which three men and one woman swing, slide, lift and push their bodies in accelerated intensity. The irony of the reverse scenario when three masked women abduct and sexually humiliate star dancer Daniel (Tom Long), does not escape us. Graphic sex scenes impact as required: an erect penis, full frontal nudity, masturbation, sodomy and copulation. Like the film, these scenes are visceral and fearless, the impact reminiscent of European filmmaking. In an acting tour de force, Long bares more than his body in this brave and demanding role, tugging at our emotions as he endures physical and mental anguish. I especially like Colin Friels, who grounds the film with his matter-of-fact portrayal of the cop who understands.
Music has much to do with the mood of Kokkinos' searing adaptation of Rupert Thomson's sexual novel, and like the film, Cezary Skubiszewski's score is both bold and challenging. Meryl Tankard's evocative choreography also works in tandem. Kokkinos pushes the boundaries in every sense. The title of her earlier controversial film Head On (1998) could well be used to describe the way she tackles the explicit onscreen sex and emotional churn. The issues are raw and touch a nerve, though the emotionally jagged edges made me feel as though I was watching several different movies instead of one.
Published February 1, 2007
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BOOK OF REVELATION, THE: DVD (R)
CAST: Tom Long, Greta Scacchi, Colin Friels, Deborah Mailman, Tamara Searle, Anna Torv
PRODUCER: Al Clark
DIRECTOR: Ana Kokkinos
SCRIPT: Ana Kokkinos, Andrew Bovell (novel by Rupert Thomson)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tristan Milani
EDITOR: Martin Connor
MUSIC: Cezary Skubiszewski, Carl Vine
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Heath
RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 7, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: January 24, 2007