Stoic (Uwe Boll) 2009

Really I don’t know why I’m going through the Uwe Boll filmography.  Maybe it is a disorder that I’m a bad movie completist or maybe just a plain old masochist.

Stoic you may not have heard of; even for Boll fans.  This and Rampage are his attempts at going art house.  The movie is supposedly “based on a true story” which immediately had me rolling my eyes.  With Boll I figured “based on a true story” meant the same thing as Eli Roth’s Hostel being based on a fake ad in some newspaper.  The plot of Stoic is about four prisoners who share a cell (all in for short prison terms).  Three of the cellmates beat, rape, and kill the fourth by making it look like a suicide.  They kill him over an initial bet the man would eat toothpaste which the man backed out on.  Well, when I did research I was surprised to find out this was somewhat based on case in 2006 in a German juvenile detention facility.  None of the specifics were given, but all the general details were the same.

So, during the movie we stay with our cellmates as they systematically destroy one of their own over a silly bet.  This is a 90 minute endurance trial where we get one torture scene after another.  We see every bit of him getting his ass kicked, him puking and having to eat his puke, him drinking from the toilet, him getting pissed on by other inmates, him getting raped by one of his cellmates, him getting a broomstick shoved up his ass and sodomized with it, and finally his staged suicide.  Intercut with those scenes are interview segments where they are supposedly telling their story to the investigators.

I know this comes down to taste and this doesn’t apply to all films, but a movie like this should have an actual point to it.  If the point is that people are a**holes and can be pretty cruel to one another, I am well aware of that point.  My experiences with people I know they are capable of ugly things without much provocation.  But I need something more than just watching someone get beaten and raped for 90 minutes.  If you wanted to expose the shoddy conditions in prisons then that would be great.  Hell, in real life this case caused a massive shake up in how the juvenile detention facilities ran in that area.  If you want to make some kind of statement on society or that they are the way they are because of their upbringing then that might work too.  I just need something other than random cruelty.  I can get that anywhere and I don’t need to ruin an afternoon because Boll is getting his art house on.

The direction isn’t worth noting here.  This is kind of like a stage play put on film.  We have one location where the actors operate so I can’t really judge Boll’s camera techniques or anything like that.

The acting is okay.  The only actor you may recognize is Edward Furlong (Terminator 2) who looks freaking awful.  Life hasn’t been kind to Edward as he looks at least 10 years older than he should and looks the worse for wear.  Much of the dialog is improvised so I can’t really say much about the writing.  I can say the actors don’t really offer anything more than expletive filled tirades about how they are going to fuck him up.  I know they aren’t saying Shakespeare, but there’s just not much worth paying attention to either.

On my review of Rampage someone said I was being unfair on Boll.  Here, I’m really not blaming anything on Boll.  I don’t care who would have directed this movie from Spielberg to the Coen Brothers.  To me this is just a pointless film.  It is competently shot with alright acting, and alright writing.  But Stoic is an endurance test with nothing to offer the viewer in the end.  I didn’t like it and I don’t see many others being interested in it either.

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