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Film Review: Poor Agnes Shows The Banality of Evil

Visually crisp and intimately moody through Navin Ramaswaran direction and James Gordon Ross brilliant writing, Poor Agnes is a HEAVY film. Its premise is NOT for the lighthearted, and nor is its manifestation, but that is how the film thrives. Poor Agnes rises in horror film distinction, by living in the murky moralities and mentalities of human beings. In these surreal times, Poor Agnes stands out as a look into the “insightful”, “friendly” image of evil that hides its much darker penchant for destruction. 

When you have neo-nazis in fine suits and random people spewing eloquent soliloquies in support of mass ethnocide, Poor Agnes rises to say how sick it is that evil can really look benevolent. Lora Burke as Agnes is stunningly creepy. On paper, she is gorgeous and even sophisticated, but that is all a mask to cover a sincerely, horrifying bloodlust, which she reveals through her relationship with Michael (played by Robert Notman). Notman gives Michael a slow, withering loss of spirit. While he came in with heat to uncover the murderous tendencies/ past of Agnes, it is he that ends up learning. As time and torture progresses, audiences will grimace with discomfort as Michael becomes an assistant to Agnes own gory, viciousness towards him. Honestly, you will squirm, but admire that film delves into the horrors of humanity without any “pretty” or “lightning” As Agnes giddily snivels and “smizes” at seeing lose his sense of self, the audience gains a little more understanding as to why captives submit to their captors’ brutality.

If there is one thing EVERYBODY asks a kidnap and torture victim it is, “Why didn’t you escape? or “Why didn’t you fight back?”. If we have never been in the situation then it perplexes us why it did not have a certain resolution, i.e. the captive becomes the Incredible Hulk and smashes his captor into bits. In our imaginations that is how we all feel we would defend ourselves, but Mike show even a strong spirit can feel challenged to keep his or her strength through mental/ spiritual hazing. Agnes is a powerful being even if not a good one, which is why mentioned how poignant Poor Agnes is to our times. Intelligence, power, and even good looks have no bearing on kindness, love, peace, and wisdom. Often, we confuse looking good for being good, but by the film’s end, Poor Agnes will feel like anything but poor. She is a beautiful terror, and this film gives the horror genre a new level of psychological/ intellectual intelligence. Poor Agnes Comes Out In Theatres on November 17. 

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