The Book of Revelation
Director: Ana Kokkinos (Head on)
Based on a novel by Rupert Thomson
The Book of Revelation is all about the rape of a man by women … three young women to be precise.
Rape is a very ugly act, no matter who is zooming who(m?) and my only quibble with Ms Kokkinos movie is that it contains so much beauty. It is not an ugly movie. In fact I think its seductively stylised rendering could almost be a fantasy to many who find chains; fetishised, long red lacquered nails and cloaked and hooded young women arousing.
What I did find very authentic about the Book of Revelation – and I think that accolades should go to both director Ana Kokkinos and ‘rapee’ ‘Daniel (played with extraordinary depth by Tom Long) – is the emotional and social disintegration of Daniel after his 12 day ordeal. Daniel is a changed man and his life’s degradation – one moment shining as a celebrity dancer with a following of fans who think that he is something very special – to that of an emotional cripple, so damaged by his violation that he is incapable of explaining the details of his abduction, abuse and rape to his girlfriend of three years (Anna Torv); his ballet mentor (Greta Scacchi); or, for that matter to the police – is heart-breakingly real.
The Book of Revelation is as much a catalyst as a movie. I can honestly state that I have not seen a movie in recent times that has motivated so much post-movie discussion. One much older gentleman recounted the true case of a clergy man who had been kidnapped by women and raped. He was quicker than most contemporary male peers to get the ‘mind and heart unwilling/body willing’ quandary that is the confusing point for identifying male rape. Another angle was presented by a girlfriend who gave the opinion that, for her, the movie was appropriate in representing male-by-female rape. She believes rape by females would be far more seductive, sensual and ritualistic in act than that of a woman by men. Any number of male colleagues and friends identified strongly with Daniel’s inability to tell of his rape. They felt that the scene where the police began to laugh as Daniel made his mortified attempt to get the crime on the books was as it would be; reinforcing the notion that male rape to them is dauntingly hot-buttoned with stereotypes of what men are meant to want and how men are meant to be. Most of these men agreed (sadly) that like Daniel, they too would probably have licked their wounds in devastated silence rather than suffer the double humiliation of trying to articulate their violation to the crime squad and/or loved ones.
The Book of Revelation is worth seeing for many reasons. It is too ‘sexy’ for my tastes with regards to its subject matter, but so many other elements are top notch – the depiction of a victim’s potentially shattered life after an act of violence, our society’s difficulty to think and act on situations that don’t easily fit into the accepted status quo model of ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ … all the way through to the gorgeous choreography by star talent Meryl Tankard (many will know Ms Tankard’s work from Sydney’s Olympics opening ceremony in 2000).
If you see The Book of Revelation prepare to be jolted.
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