Let the Bodies Hit the Floor: Mainstream
I've been linked to by the Big Apple Blog Fest hosted currently by Mister Snitch, and so I'm trying to do as many reviews as possible so as to benefit our lovely indie filmmakers. Let's face it, I can tell you about my wild debauchery anytime (soon, I promise.)

Mainstream by Adam Barnick
Another short featured on Fangoria's Blood Drive II. The minimalist aesthetic of this nine minute short is key to its nightmarish success. It also explains why viewers have radically different interpretations of the film. The film opens with a man strapped to a surgical gurney. In true Kafka style, we don't know why he is there, and he doesn't seem to either. He is injected by several needles and anesthetized. After he loses consciousness, an eyeless surgeon removes his blood and as well as glowing yellow brain fluid. The man is then filled with some unknown chemical. The surgeon then retreats revealing a large fleshy umbilical cord attached to his back. The next victim lies on the gurney. The next cut reveals a brief scene at home with the first victim and his pill popping wife.

Reviews led me to believe that this film was more an allegory about the working class, however I saw it as a symbolic interpretation of the problems with Western medicine. The eyelessness of the surgeon indicates how doctors no longer see or recognize the individuality of each patient. The removal of the fluids as well as the pill popping wife illustrates how the goal of healing has shifted from actually restoring health to simply making the patient easy to manage (particularly psychotropic drugs). These treatments deaden patients to the world around them instead of restoring them to health. The umbilical cord indicates that the doctor is not an individual either. He is himself controlled by other means (HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, consumer demand-take your pick).

Of course, the lack of control and the needles plug into primal fears. My father claimed the most horrifying scene he ever watched was the dentistry torture scene in Marathon Man. It wasn't just the simplicity of the scene (a man, a drill, and a chair), but the universal fear of the dentist's chair and the loss of control associated with that chair. This film, much like Marathon Man, portrays the base fear one experiences in any waiting room, ER, OR, and examining room.

Unlike most of the other shorts which relied on a twist-this film simply quietly and creepily progressed. I found myself watching it again last night, and I was just as disturbed as I was by seeing it on the big screen for the first time. The sound in particular is chill inducing.

About my only complaint was that the two patients wore jeans. I understand he was trying to keep a cool color palate, but it didn't quite fit with the medical background. A pair of blue scrub bottoms would have kept the color palate intact while still being more fitting for the medicalized interior.

More to come...

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