Sunday, November 8, 2020

Movie with Abe: Dirty God

Dirty God
Directed by Sacha Polak
Released November 13, 2020

Recovering from a traumatic event is not an easy or quick process. Getting past the anxiety of whatever it was that occurred can be difficult, especially since a person may be just as vulnerable to experiencing it again at some point following the breaching of what may have been considered a safe space. Achieving some sense of normalcy is made more complicated by the physical presence of scars, which can prompt others to make comments and bring back triggering memories even if the bearer of them has made progress in dealing with their psychological effects.

Jade (Vicky Knight) is recovering from a violent acid attack that has left her with very visible burns all over her body and face. As she pursues options for reconstructive surgery, she struggles to get her life back on track, parenting a young baby and living with her mother (Katherine Kelly). She wants to be independent and retain much of the life that she had before the attack, though doing many of the same things puts her back in the world that contains so much fear and violence. Desperate for permanent fixes, Jade begins to explore alternative options to circumvent the medical processes in London that she feels may forever hold her back.

This film gets off to a strong start by introducing its protagonist after her injuries have been inflicted, applying a prosthetic mask over the bottom half of her face as she feels the scarring all over her body. The terror that must have existed in that moment is not felt or even described, but instead what it has left is shown and demonstrated through all of Jade’s behavior. It hasn’t changed the way that she speaks to people or wants to experience things that make her happy, whether that is sexual satisfaction or the sleep that she can’t quite get as a new mother. What she has endured makes her a very sympathetic character, but it doesn’t transform her into a smooth or gentle personality.

The most compelling element of this film, aside from its plot, is the lead performance from Knight. Her debut film performance is powerful and lived-in, and she brings a raw authenticity to it that surely comes from her own experience as a burn victim at a young age. This is not an easy film, but it’s also one that doesn’t present a grand tale of someone overcoming adversity and achieving a new start. It offers a strong and resounding portrait of a person living in the moment and taking steps, some counterproductive, to finding a way to be at peace with her circumstances.


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