January 21, 2019 Open Wound (Movie Review)
It’s a Matryoshka world where plots are compounded with ideas embedded inside twists that are dependent upon turns. Enter Open Wound, a brand-new offering from Wild Eye Raw & Extreme that arrives to DVD on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
We open on a woman (Leila Lowfire: The Key 2016, Dogs of Berlin series) and a man (Jerry Kwarteng: Correspondence 2016, Call the Boys series) discussing sex and casualties of war in preparation for a pool party. Almost immediately after a sketchy roleplay incident, their situation begins to quickly devolve — whether thanks to a vicious misunderstanding, malicious intent, or some unforeseen outsider (Erik Hansen: The Countess 2009, Snowblind 2010) with an agenda. Whatever the case, love is hell when it’s boiled down to kinky sex, lies, and videotape!
Clocking in at 95 minutes, Open Wound was written and directed by Jürgen R. Weber (In aller Freundschaft series, Beutolomäus und die Prinzessin series). Originally titled Open Wound: The Über-Movie, the film is also being marketed under the title Time Is Up. Much like its myriad of aliases, no matter what you call it, Open Wound is fatally flawed by its own convoluted intentions. In short, this appears to be an attempt at a grungy yet sophisticated, Punk Rock/Art House spin on the exploitation film; or a controversial lampooning, at best.
Mired in conundrums, Open Wound never quite achieves what it sets its sights towards, and yet it’s not entirely a flop. The experimental cinematography of Oliver Koeppel (Bild von ihr 2011, Hanuman.com 2013) gives the film a uniquely moody personality, a modern artistic bent that adds zest to a somewhat hackneyed tale of jealousy and revenge. In turn, this is often intentionally mocked by the oft timeless, mostly Classical score which, despite its clear juxtaposition, works.
Considering that the film has a cast of three, it does a lot with limited means and, in this aspect, Open Wound is successful. Kwarteng is suitably vile when necessary and able to switch his onscreen personality without warning, making him an excellent contender for the role of a sociopath. He is ominous at times, entirely fumbling and socially awkward at others — always perfectly adapting to the needs of his character. Lowfire, sadly, does not have quite the same amount of material to work with and is often left bound in her lingerie, her character’s portrayal heavily reliant upon her dialogue. She treads water and gives a decent performance, always showing exceptional zest and fight on behalf of her character’s indomitable personality. Hansen, who only really appears in the last third of the film, does wonderful with his own character, a gentle blend of comedic relief and quirky, spurned lover turned to cold-hearted, acidic revenge.
Unfortunately, despite the cast’s abilities, the film is inherently fatally flawed thanks to its script. At its base level, Open Wound is a tale of twisted revenge perpetrated by two sociopathic soulmates; an overwrought metaphor for the casualties of love. Beyond this, Weber’s treatment includes quasi-sophisticated sidebars that dip into extraneous prose that expound upon music and sexuality, la petite mort, evolution and natural selection, science and art, and even go so far into left-field as to draw comparisons between vaginal intercourse and eating Chinese food with a fork. This makes the film less about its actual plot and more about providing the writer a sounding board for his bizarre musings that, at times, seem to even mock modern feminism. Clearly intended to push buttons and force a reaction, Hansen’s character literally quips: “It’s amazing what you can get away with in art!”
This cements the self-mockery of Open Wound, showing a self-awareness that the film has babbled and dabbled far outside its initial framework merely to get a cheap rise out of its audience. In short, while the story might have done well as a subversive novella overstuffed with superfluous prose expounding on controversial material intended to shock and titillate, as it stands, Open Wound’s pretentious exploitation falls flat on its duct-taped face. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Open Wound 2.5 of 5 stars.