Felt – A powerful and dark film that will stay with me for a long time
Directed by: Jason Banker
In the opening scene of “Felt”, Jason Banker’s follow up to his 2012 genre-bender “Toad Road” (Which we also reviewed here), we are introduced to Amy (Everson) a young woman who is trying to psychologically recover from a recent trauma. “My life is a fucking nightmare” we hear her say in the film’s first line. We are never told or shown exactly what happened, but through seeing her interactions, specifically with men, it is apparent that she is the victim of a sexual assault and/or rape. We also see the affects of her being victimized in her art which is sexually dark and unsettling but at the same time beautiful. Her way of coping is through some bizarre behavior that increasingly pushes her friends away and wearing different costumes, one of which is a skin-tight, skin colored body suit with a prosthetic penis. A sort of super hero, she talks about how she will serve justice on men who harm women.
She explains that she can no longer tell dreams from reality and that she “Feels like a ghost”. Indeed the film itself feels like a strange dream, using surreal imagery and largely improvised dialogue. Right away we get the sense that the trauma Amy experienced has left her severely damaged and unable to recover. She is alone, broken, and lost. Only adding to her detachment from society, her interactions with men she meets online are disastrous. One particularly douchey guy explains to her that roofies are a myth made up by women who are embarrassed that they had sex with men from the bar. More and more, Amy isolates herself in her own world. That is until she meets a seemingly sensitive, nice guy named Kenny (Audley) who is not only accepting of her tendencies, he treats her in a way that challenges her perception of men.
I really enjoyed “Felt”, and feel like it is one of the bigger indie surprises of the year so far. It was strange and dark in all the right ways and points a firm finger at the rape culture perpetrated by a male-dominated world. Amy, as a character, was so fascinating to me that she alone strongly held my interest and had me biting my nails towards the end. Banker’s docu-style approach yields the positive result of an intimate vibe in which I felt like I was transported into Amy’s weird, dream-like world. Everson and Audley were both incredible in challenging roles. Especially Everson who masterfully expresses every emotion in the book with a beautiful subtlety. Great directing from Banker too,who seems to be unafraid to explore the darker side of humanity and taboos, which makes me very excited to see what he does next! As for “Felt”, I am going to say it’s a must see.