Pascal Laugier's Martyrs: Film Review Paper
Just, let yourself go. Give in. In Martyrs, Pascal Laugier integrates science and thriller to make the audience grimis in terror through taboo experimentation and scattered scenes until the final conclusion at the end of the film. Laugier opens the film with a young girl screaming as she runs through an abandoned street, beaten and bloody. He continues to switch scenes to the screaming girl, Lucie, 15 years later, as a woman who suffers hallucinations of a woman who tortures and abuses her.
She is visited by this hallucination after she massacres a family whom she believes to be the people who tortured her as a young girl, hence, the opening scene. The transition between scenes and topics are scattered through out the film until the very end, when they all tie together and come with the final conclusion as to why she, and many others, had been tortured. EDIT During the first half of the film, Laugier makes the scenes quick and sudden during the massacre of the family and when Lucie hallucinates.
The lights are very bright and character movement is erratic. (? ) The central characters in the film are Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) and Anna (Morjana Alaoui). Martyrs starts off with a young Lucie, screaming as she runs through an abandoned street, beaten and bloody from over a year of torture at a warehouse. Laugier then switches to Lucie making a friend, Anna, at an orphanage where Lucie begins to show signs of posttraumatic stress; such as, seeing hallucinations. The hallucination Lucie sees is of a woman whom she saw as a child during her torture.
When Lucie escaped, she heard a woman screaming for someone to save her, but Lucie did not in fear of getting caught again. She must have been so guilt ridden that she began to hallucinate her as she got older. I believe that Laugier made this a point to show that posttraumatic stress can truly take over a person’s life. When she massacred the people, as well as their children, who tortured her as a child, she did this so the woman would no longer hurt her. Lucie thought she would go away because she avenged her.
She didn’t. When I had realized the hallucination wouldn’t leave her once she “avenged” her death, I believe that Lucie would never truly get over the fact that she had left the woman for death. That is why I feel that the hallucination wouldn’t leave until the hallucination (Lucie) killed her. When Anna found out Lucie has killed this family to make her hallucination go away, she no longer believed that she was tortured. I believe she felt that she was mentally ill and made the whole thing up.
It turns out that once Lucie killed herself and Anna had to clean up Lucie’s “mess”, she found a secret passage in the house that led to a basement that contained a woman who was held captive. This scene will keep you on the edge of your seat because its very graphic and extremely hard to watch as Anna sets the woman free, only to find that she has hallucinations that cockroaches are crawling all over her. When Anna can no longer calm the woman down, she is suddenly shot in the head. This is where Laugier introduces the people who are in charge of the experimentations.
Soon, Anna finds herself to be the third victim of torture to find the secrets of the “after-life”. The film does not hold back on the disturbing visuals. In the end, Anna is skinned alive and eventually reaches “martyrdom” which is what the crazed-torturers where aiming for. Anna is believed to have seen the other world, the after-life, and shares this with the woman who is in charge of the whole operation. When the woman is supposed to share this with the “others”, she tells them to “keep wondering (? look at film again)” and, in turn, shoots herself in the head. The conclusion to the film can either make you feel unsatisfied with the ending or make you keep guessing as to what the after-life holds and makes you question and want more. Either way, you do not get the answer and are left to sit in front of your television, starring wide-eyed, because you are shocked at the gore and disturbing visuals you had seen previously. Laugier switches from one disturbing scene to the next. This thriller will