"Ex Drummer": Shamelessly, but stylishly, shocking
"Ex Drummer" is a thoroughly offensive and often hilarious punk requiem from Belgium about rape, murder, violence, kinky sex, drugs, destruction, bad manners and rock 'n' roll — not necessarily in that order.
Special to The Seattle Times
"Ex Drummer," with Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert, Gunter Lamoot, Sam Louwyck. Written and directed by Koen Mortier, based on a novel by Herman Brusselmans. 90 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. In Flemish and Dutch, with English subtitles. Northwest Film Forum; see Page 17.
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Nihilism is alive and well in "Ex Drummer," a thoroughly offensive and often hilarious punk requiem about rape, murder, violence, kinky sex, drugs, destruction, bad manners and rock 'n' roll — not necessarily in that order.
A Belgian band of brainless, disabled deadbeats is in search of a drummer, and they think the presence of a famous author will bring more attention to their upcoming gig at a punk-rock battle of the bands. Their recruiting of Dries (Dries Van Hegen), an arrogant writer looking to inject his work with new thrills, starts a chain of anarchy that ends in an existential bloodbath.
There's way too much to be shocked about in "Ex Drummer" to single out any one incident. It could be the deadly beatings one character likes to inflict on women, or the way another keeps his elderly father imprisoned in a shed, or the emotional and physical neglect a couple showers on their 3-year-old daughter. Filmmaker Koen Mortier documents it all with outrageous clarity and not a hint of shame.
"Ex Drummer" is based on a novel by Belgian author Herman Brusselmans, who may have been trying to get at something deeper than the pure titillation Mortier incites in the movie. Mortier's eagerness to raise ire is matched only by the movie's stylistic flair, which occasionally redeems the odious goings-on. There's no one here to like, least of all the titular character who trumps all the bad behavior of the idiots in the movie with an evil intelligence that's as dastardly as it is brilliant.
Some of the camera work and structural elements are disarming enough to keep us interested in the horrid things people are doing to each other. There's also an undercurrent of black comedy that may make "Ex Drummer" an underground classic of punk overkill.
Ted Fry: firstname.lastname@example.org
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