Thursday, September 2, 2010
A Woman in Trouble: Mad Cowgirl (film review)
Gregory Hatanka's film Mad Cowgirl (2006) is an iconoclastic, absurd, hilarious and touching story of a woman's mental deterioration.
'The woman in trouble,' is the beautiful and quirky Therese (played brilliantly by Sarah Lassez) - in one of my favorite themes in movies, especially in horror genres. For my money, it just doesn't get any better than when you have a woman who has a gorgeous exterior, but is obsessed, mentally unstable or just a bit psycho in the interior - because a woman who has let go of conventional worries and day-to-day requirements is completely free in her actions. Watching a crazy, carpe diem woman is uplifting, in a way.
Therese's plight involves a brain tumor that is quickly altering her perceptions in the world. As a meatpacking inspector, she is aware of the 'mad cow disease' that is emerging in Britain. This news, which is oft in the background of the movie, is not the reason for her despondent behavior, but is continually offered up as a red herring as the cause for her problems. Dying of a brain disorder is not 'funny.' But a meat inspector who is given tainted meat from her incestuous brother and is then convinced that she has the brain-wasting disease IS funny. This belief sets her off on a wild journey of pastor-banging, eating steak, brother-banging, eating more steak, girl-on-girl action, late nite kung-fu TV show obsession, eating raw steak, and, oh, a murder spree.
The overt campiness of some the shots are reminiscent of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. The character portrayal, however, is strongly set on Therese with minor distractions, so her anguish and loneliness came through despite the wild and crazy situations she would find herself in, namely boning Commandar Chekov of Star Trek (the pastor), which is a heartache in itself. Her inappropriate relationship with her brother is also overwhelmingly sad, because the viewer knows he's the only one that could save her from herself.
The beginning of the film (after the some minute cow interlude) there is a news brief from Japan that is explaining the dangers of eating cow, for fear of contracting the 'mad cow disease' that forms holes in your brain tissue. The brief offers an alternative lifestyle that will keep you healthy - a vegan lifestyle. Seeing as how the rest of the movie is absolutely littered with shots of (troubled) people devouring steaks like beasts, I'm convinced the director is making a statement on the carnivore diet. I could be wrong, and it's probably my vegetarianism coming through, but wouldn’t it be delicious if this movie was one giant propaganda tool to get people to lay off the beef? It's as if the director is saying 'Therese brought her problems upon herself.' You are what you eat: ingesting a mad-cow steak will make you into a Mad CowGirl... with a thunderbolt kick!