2010 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #47
Of all of Albert Pyun's films, BULLETFACE is the most challenging. It's also unlike anything he's made previously and aside from a few trademarks you wouldn't pin it as "Pyun". Right from the get go this is one fucked up movie. A DEA agent (Dara) finds herself arrested and locked up in sort of penal colony in Mexico. Regular gang rape and beatings are just part of the seedy and corrupt happenings in this place and we soon learn that the prison officials are harvesting prisoner organs... as if this isn't fucked up enough her brother is murdered on the outside by a drug lord who is cooking up a new drug from the spinal fluid of living humans. The addicts of this new drug include law enforcement and in a deal to help bring down this drug lord, Dara is let out for 60 hours to exact a bloody revenge. BULLETFACE really is unlike anything else. It was a gutsy story for Albert to take on and I guess with his new found independence at the time, it was a risk worth taking. The film was shot on a DV Varicam and it takes some time adjusting to the style - but before long it becomes clear that Albert has control and he uses the DV format as though it were film. The framing and angles are top-notch and he resists the hand-held look (thank God) wherever possible. The editing is also impressive and a lot more experimental than Pyun usually allows. It is an ugly and unforgiving film with some truly abhorrent stuff put on screen, but all of it is essential to telling this story. If you're a fan of subversive film making then this might be worth a look to you. Having watched it once I have been feeling compelled to see it again. I did have a few issues with it, however, including an over abundance of title cards through out the film. It became irritating that for almost every change of scene, a title appeared to tell us the location. These weren't necessary and my irritation distracted me a fair bit. Having said that, the film otherwise flows well. I haven't hit the message boards and forums yet but I imagine a whole lot of back-lash surrounding BULLETFACE. Its going to upset a lot of people and it's going to be misunderstood. If you see it I think it deserves to be processed before forming a conclusion. Let it stew in your mind for a while... it's still mulling around in mine.
Note: Albert has recorded a commentary for the film but I haven't had a chance to check it out. When I do I will report back with some further insight.