Rape Card: Final Girls Berlin Review

Rape Card: Final Girls Berlin Review

I not entirely sure I understand what point Rape Card is trying to make. It’s not that I don’t get the metaphor, and it’s not that I don’t disagree with the point that it’s all pretty horrible that women walk around constantly in threat of these men who feel entitled to them. From that regard the short very well made and really does highlight the rotten, toxic nature of the way society views rape, rapists, and rape victims.

However, looking at this from a purely cinematic standpoint… eh? What was the point here? I really don’t get it. I’m pretty sure I’m the wrong audience, and so maybe I shouldn’t really be offering up my opinion on it, but for me it just seemed a little… confused.

As a premise the idea of world in which a rape card exists is a rather curious one. There are many places one could go with this particular concept, and all of them could lead to interesting real-world parallels, and yet the one the short chooses to head down wound up feeling a little… well, it just felt dull. And I don’t mean because nothing happened, I mean it just felt too normal.



Perhaps, then, that’s the point. And if so, that highlights the truly horrific terror of the life women must live that men are simply unaware of and incapable of fully understanding.

But, if it is the point, then the film did a bad job of illustrating to me, as a viewer, that it is the point. And then I come back to the whole “I’m probably the wrong audience for this anyway” view, and we’re off back round in a circle. I don’t know where I’m supposed to be with this short. Let’s approach this from a different place, shall we?

Visually Rape Card looks like it wants to be Black Mirror but can’t manage the edge or the grime lots of a Netflix dollars can, so instead looks more like a BBC attempt at Netflix edge and grime. There’s something glossy about those high-end productions that the low budget productions can’t quite muster, and short of going full Shane Meadows there’s no other way to really deal with this issue. What Rape Card does is manages to work around it by almost feeding into that normalcy.

Everything in Rape Card is far more normal than it should be. Whether it’s picking up the titular card to watching the horror of the card unfold through your kitchen window, to staring into the mirror and trying to figure out the best way to get yourself raped, everything is so uncomfortably, horrifically normal. It’s all presented as if it were a matter-of-fact, boring drama about nothing.

And it’s this aspect of the film that manages to pull it back from being totally pointless because, see, while I didn’t get the point or what it was trying to say (outside of the obvious, anyway), I did feel incredibly awkward of slightly ill through most of its short runtime. When it came to the ending, at first I was left feeling oddly cold. What was it trying to suggest? Dare I say I felt slightly offended?

And then I remembered that there was something more going on here. I was bringing my own experiences to this film, and as a man I have little to no experiences of rape outside of it being something horrific that has happened to people I know. I can’t appreciate this movie on its full level, beyond the realization that I can’t appreciate it.

That realization might have been the key part of Rape Card, for me. Not that I wasn’t the person who should be watching it, who should be reviewing it, but that I should know I’m not the person. And I should be aware that my view is going to be marred by my experiences (or rather lack thereof) when it comes to the subject matter.

So, here’s my final thoughts. A confusing, somewhat dull, bland to look at and frustratingly vague yet somehow simultaneously obvious and on the nose allegory that doesn’t seem to offer up anything new nor do much with its admittedly interesting premise but that does, however, highlight the discomforting normalcy of the entire situation. That a film dealing with such horrific subject matter can be a confusing, somewhat dull, bland to look at and frustratingly vague yet somehow simultaneously obvious and on the nose allegory that doesn’t seem to offer up anything new nor do much with its admittedly interesting premise is kind of the point. And that… well, that’s really messed up.


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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.

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