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King Of The Ants (2003)
Movie Review by The Drug Stuffed Corpse

King Of The Ants (2003) Directed by Stuart Gordon

Ever since my therapist can remember I have always cheered for the 'bad guy'. Be they in cartoons, wrestling or Schindler's List. Whether it is due to my misanthropy (which can get tedious) or a subconscious belief that once the bad guys win chaos will ensue, my therapist Doctor P. (a referral of Dr Randall Phillip) and I have yet to deduce. Stuart Gordon's latest work has left me in an elliptical conundrum: like Requiem For A Dream all of the main characters are wretched and loathsome, but King Of The Ants is unlike that flensed strip of nihilistic melodrama and more a rape-revenge fantasy (regrettably without the rape). Who do I 'root' for?: A crooked businessman about to be exposed by a city councilman enlists the main character, Sean to follow and later kill the official. Naturally after the deed is done the businessman (played with aplomb by one of the Baldwins. Does it really matter which one?) refuses to pay Sean. When Sean tries to blackmail the odious Baldwin, the blighted youth takes the brunt of Daniel/Billy/Alec's wrath. Unfortunately, all of this tiresome nonsense takes an hour to fully sow the seed of their discontent. However, once the bloodletting commences Sean comes face to face with the steely gaze of a stolid torturer. I enjoyed Sean's suffering immensely. It's not often I get aroused watching a group of men doing what 'needs to be done', but the layers of abuse heaped upon Sean were electrifying; the realism of the tortures and their after-effects were plied precisely and without mercy. The contrast of his tormentors discussing music and grousing about running out of beer between bouts of sadistic torment added to the bleakness of the film. Sadly the transition takes an exorbitant amount of time and what follows is another 30 minutes of unbelievable dialogue and unrealistic settings (i.e.: Whenever I cruise bum alley near the soup kitchen looking for sex, it is a rare instance that a number of brand new cars are parked in front). Realism, when not touching on the bizarre and outlandish is not director Gordon's forte; the mood and dialogue during the romantic sequences is stilted and awkward. And with Sean's later actions it is apparent that subconsciously he wants to be discovered, but it is never fully explained if it is for cathartic redemption or his true-self alienating those close to him so he can claim his revenge. Depending on you who cheered for, the ending is either grim or heartening. However, if you find yourself bewildered and in need of someone to talk to, email me and I'll forward your concerns to Dr P...

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