Alexandra’s Project is a heavy, psychological piece of work spewed straight out of our favourite end of the earth, Australia. I’ll guess it was released there late last year and has taken a few months to work its way into my backyard. Going into the theatre, I knew nothing about this film. I had forgotten I had seen a trailer for it a few weeks earlier and thought that it looked quite good. And in many ways, it really is. In a few other ways, I had problems with it, but we’ll cover both, shall we?
Let’s skip the “development” and get right to it. A wife has reached the end of her rope with her husband’s ignorance and sexually selfish and insulting habits. -And while he blindly goes about his day assuming (and pretending) that everything is just fine, the wife is left at home to comtemplate.. and plan.. and organize…and plan some more. And what this wife has planned for her husband, besides being totally Wacked Out, is actually fairly simple: Wait till he leaves for work then pack, dismantle, move out and lock up the house leaving nothing but a working TV and an accompanying video tape (that she makes after he leaves) in the living room – which he essentially will have no option but to watch (because he’s locked in, you see – I realize it’s hard to get locked INTO a house, but this detail is covered, no worries. Get it? No Worries??? Australia?? Shutup…..) Anyway, once the video tape starts, the psychological torture begins.
Let me just say that Helen Buday was handed one huge, thick, massive, juicy role and she did one bang up job with it. Easily the most notable thing about the production, hands down. She did so well, I’m tempted to assume that she must be slightly mad in real life in order to be so wildly angry and yet so precise with where she aims her madness. She performs roughly 90% of her entire role in front of a camcorder that is played again for her husband. During this tape, she swings from maddening to suicidal to obsessed to enraged in a constant slow-swinging pendulum of emotion. Very intense stuff. As a result, the husband, “Steve” is dragged through a video of half-truths and lies and the only thing he can do is sit and watch as she tears his mind to pieces and rips his heart out. I couldn’t imagine a director handing me a script and saying “Sit there. Create Psychological terror. Go.”
Almost all of the video is performed with Helen in the buff. Not a Hollywood naked, but a naked that has weathered a relationship that has driven her to the brink. She has lost her “shape” and her “image” has dissolved. Her exposed self propels many of her demons that she has against her husband. She’s completely exposed and has nothing to hide. And… wow.. let me tell you, what a crazy role to play. Bravo.
Area of concern is simply this: Okay, yes.. the husband was an inconsiderate prick. He was using her emotionally and intimately and wasn’t as unconditionally caring as husbands should be. However, the torture that Steve experiences is revenge that only the most haneous of sins would warrant. I spent much of the film wondering “What the HELL did this guy DO to this poor woman to deserve this???” and it finally came… the big reason… are you ready? Skip to the end of the post if you don’t want to know.. but here it is: “She wasn’t happy”.
Oh, I’m sorry. Not happy? Well welcome to real life. The things that we were told Steve did would warrant running from the house in the middle of the night and leaving him forever, but this endless and accurate hellish psychological abuse was beyond over the top. Okay sure, I can’t expect you to tolerate not being respected as much as you’d hoped, but lady – and maybe I’m being old fashioned here, but fill in the blank: “richer or poorer, for better or for _____”. yeah that’s right. That stupid vow you swore to? Yeah that one. Was your marriage horrible? Yeah? Was it the worst it has ever been? Yeah? REally? Well, welcome to “worse” and you commited to it. The lack of “justice” really turned the antagonist tables for me. By the end of the film, I felt quite bad for Steve. And I believe that was the point: In the closing scene, we are shown Steve, in the house, alone – who can only pleasure himself – as this wracked shell of a human is all that’s left. I’m shocked the director didn’t make Steve more evil than they made him out to be. Make no mistake, Steve is still a complete moron, but this was mind torture to the nth degree and I never saw sufficient reason for it.
However, either way – what we’re left with is one dark journey through the mind of one REALLY pissed off housewife. It’s quite amazing – because you’re dragged through it all the same. Your loyalty swings between Steve and Alexandra like Pamela Anderson is to Tommy Lee. Intense, dark, twisted, messed up and startlingly well performed stuff.
Cool accents too.