Author Topic: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)  (Read 420 times)

Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« on: September 14, 2021, 09:25:19 PM »


A surprisingly nasty, cynical tale of sex, violence and sexual violence in the Middle Ages. As a big fan of Berserk, I was far from shocked by the brutal look at medieval life or the crass deconstruction of the romanticised clich├ęs, but I did rather enjoy it. It's a grubby, gory, unsanitary film with Rutger Hauer gleefully chewing the scenery as a bandit leader and Jennifer Jason Leigh as a very willing, regal hostage. The rest of the cast is appropriately hammy and hackneyed in a plague-ridden romp of tits and torture. I'd say it's very fucking dated, very fucking 80s, and that's perhaps a big part of the appeal.

The action sequences, costumes and staging are very enthusiastic but feel equally low budget. The plot is pretty barebones, with only JJL providing some twists and turns to the narrative as her loyalties flip and flop. The music is familiar but rather stirring and atmospheric. Fair warning, there's rather a lot of violence and a number of on screen rapes, albeit the first is arguably subversive to show the true nature of JJL's character and her survival instinct. None of it is played for titillation, to my mind, but it is graphic. There's also a fair bit of gore and suffering, especially when the plague begins to take its toll.

As a look at early Verhoeven, we can see that he arrived nearly fully formed from a thematic perspective. It's also nevertheless very different to the best films I've seen from him elsewhere. The medieval setting matches his violent, sexual focuses very well. I think it's largely free of flab it moves through the gears nicely. It's a three star film at best but it definitely offers something different for genre heads.

Recommended with reservations.

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 12:45:07 AM »
Also features Bart Simpson in a sex scene.

Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 12:47:52 AM »
Do the Bartman

Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 12:49:34 AM »
When this was reviewed on Film 85 Barry Norman was being deputised by Michael Parkinson.  Parky told how he had walked out of the movie during the rape scene you alluded to.  Of course, this made me keen to see it, but I had to wait until it came on video. 

For me it was notable for being one of the many occasions I saw pre-Simpsons Nancy Cartwright.  At that time she seemed to pop up all over the place: this, an episode of Fame, The Twilight Zone film.  Also there is a tall balding guy in it who I could have sworn was in the "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label" ads, but I think I must have been mistaken.

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 04:01:27 AM »
Parky told how he had walked out of the movie during the rape scene you alluded to.

He and his mates got it out on video later, though, and cheered during that bit.

Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 05:33:29 AM »
Parky told how he had walked out of the movie during the rape scene you alluded to. 

I would have thought that scene would seem almost tame compared with his encounter with Rod Hull and Emu.

Cuntbeaks

  • Where you fay?
Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 05:51:53 PM »
First film i ever watched on a full 5.1 home cinema set up. Just so happened to be on acid at the time and it was fucking epic.

Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 06:13:35 PM »
It should really have been called:

Paul Verhoeven's Rapin + Killin

Brundle-Fly

  • "Why don't you do something to help me?"
Re: Flesh + Blood (Verhoeven, 1985)
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2021, 02:26:04 PM »
When this was reviewed on Film 85 Barry Norman was being deputised by Michael Parkinson.  Parky told how he had walked out of the movie during the rape scene you alluded to.  Of course, this made me keen to see it, but I had to wait until it came on video. 


I remember this little rant. Back then, tt was actually quite exciting hearing somebody being genuinely quite cross on TV.

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