Saturday 8 May 2010
The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
I thought the trailer gave too much away. It made me uncomfortable, though, and that was something. A feeling I couldn't shake for a couple of days, some kind of unnaturalness--different from being entirely grossed out, just wrong. I was intrigued, in spite of myself. And nervous, afraid the film would leave me feeling even more weird.
"Well, I'm gonna go shower. And then I'm gonna shower again. A few more times after that," Brad said.
I have to admit, I didn't feel nearly as icky. I think the trailer, in its reveal, had prepared me. Still, the very idea of a human centipede is mind-blowingly disgusting. And to have it explained in painstaking detail, and then to see the result in all its perverted glory, it's hard not to be both fascinated and alienated by the science and depravity of it all.
Made to fetch and follow the doctor around his house, the threesome suffers indignities that are largely incomprehensible. Although it is completely beyond most people's ability to empathize with the unfortunate human subjects, sympathy and disgust vie for equal representation. Displaying an ability to be both awing and awful, the film addresses the issue of who-goes-where, with complete openness. There is no doubt the mid-section is the worst position to be in, and the doctor explains, in the same straightforward manner as he did with the surgery, exactly how and why he chooses his victim.
The centipede may be the centerpiece of the movie, but Dr. Heiter is easily the best thing about the film. He's a human inhuman monster. Not some detached, superior intellectual, but a feeling man who is truly and deeply touched by madness. Once a great surgeon, he has retired to the country to pursue his medical experimentation in peace. Unlike other monsters who wear a mask of benevolence, Dr. Heiter is has no interest in making people feel welcome or comfortable in his home.
To give the film credit, where credit's due, the movie does not take us into the operating room, but gives us time to reflect on the procedure. Indeed, this down time tends to drag just a bit, but the delicacy with which the film handles the moment of sewing three people together, is surprising. And it's balanced, or perhaps more appropriately, offset, by the remainder of the film being focused almost entirely on the experiences of the centipede.