Drama, Thriller

Misogynist (2013)

Comments Off on Misogynist (2013) 08 January 2016


Studio:  Four Legged Pictures

Distributed By:  Midnight Releasing

DVD Release:  March 3, 2015

Director:  Michael Matteo Rossi

Rating:  Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including Misogynist.

Here we have another case of a movie title and DVD cover that completely misrepresents the motion picture held within. The cover displays a nearly faceless beefcake harboring a menacing smirk, dressed in a stripper tuxedo, towering over a naked woman whom appears curled up and defenseless. From both the title and image what themes or experiences do you surmise this film to contain? Murder? Torture? Rape? Nudity? Gore? Violence?

Would it come as a surprise if I mentioned that the motion picture contained very little, and in some cases, none of the above? Nudity = zero. Gore, none. Murder…nope. Torture? Mental, maybe, but physical, nuh-uh. Violence? Some, but tame. Rape? Maybe in the sense of “no means no” on your wedding night, but not in the The Last House On The Left or I Spit On Your Grave, motion picture sense of the meaning.

Misogynist isn’t the rough, exploitation experiment that the name and cover lead you to think it is. Strangely this four-time awards recipient (L.A. International Underground Film Festival (2013), IndieFest Film Awards (2015)) is a more respectable movie than both the title and cover represent, but is it worth watching?

Film Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Miso_1After a brief introduction to Harrison, a recently dumped guy, and Trevor, a woman-hating sociopath, we immediately flash forward three years later to discover that Trevor is conducting seminars to teach young, willing to pay, protegees the tricks to controlling women. At his side is Harrison who has become Trevor’s star pupil. The seminar, also referred to as the “warehouse scene” by Director Rossi in the disc’s audio commentary, starts around the 8 minute mark and lasts roughly 22 minutes of the films short 76 minute total time. During these 22 minutes we meet three additional douche bags hoping to learn Trevor’s tricks.

This scene brought back memories of VH1’s reality show, The Pickup Artist. Anyone remember that? However, unlike the VH1 show where show host, “Mystery”, convincingly shows guys how to pick up girls, we spend most of the 22 minutes wondering why anyone would even listen to Trevor’s bullshit. He doesn’t provide any real proof that his methods work, and when questioned he assaults not one, but two of his three paying customers. What keeps the men in line? The promise that one of them may get to bang Trevor’s female “subject.” The net result of this 22 minute exchange equates to Trevor weeding out two douche bags and netting a brand new “worthy” protegee.

Miso_3After the “warehouse scene” finally concludes, Trevor and Harrison meet on the rooftop and finally shed light on what they’ve been doing the past three years. Trevor has mostly been an asshole to women, and we get a brief flashback of a home invasion scene where Trevor is forced to contend with a knife-wielding woman he slighted. Harrison explains he is engaged to April whom he seems to admire, at one point referring to her as an “angel”. However, moments prior he also refers to April as a “stone cold Catholic cunt” because he hasn’t been able to bed her during the three year courtship. This immediately draws suspicion from the audience as to why someone using Trevor’s sure-fire tactics (tongue firmly in cheek) couldn’t seal the deal long ago, but this will be somewhat explained in the film’s conclusion.

Miso_5The audience has to wait over 45 minutes (only 31 minutes of film left) before we finally meet April, and when we do she is sharing brunch with her mother. Mother does not seem impressed with Harrison and is not shy about sharing her feelings and apprehensions. Falling in line with mother/daughter dispute cliches, April states that mother needs to give her space and let her live her own life. Of course we, the audience, know this will not turn out well for April and hear that little voice in our head saying, “Should have listened to Mommy.”

Miso_6The remaining few minutes of the movie is designed to lead to the big “twist” ending that shouldn’t be a twist if you’re paying attention. Harrison is sleeping with other people. Trevor gets a blow job from his mentally abused girlfriend. The wedding day for Harrison and April arrives and Harrison has a crisis of conscience. Some lives are changed, some are not.

Misogynist culminates in a motion picture that includes very capable acting (all performances are largely strong), decent characterization, solid production value, and some themes that deserve exploring. Unfortunately, the themes Rossi hopes to exploit and/or explore feel more like a footnote instead of ringing out with the intended and needed impact. Misogynist harbors a story with such little focus that it wastes more time on information that is either irrelevant or has little pay-off to the main narrative arc.

Miso_2For instance, I’ve made clear that we spend 22 of the total 76 minutes during the “warehouse scene”. The three d-bag students play no critical role in main thrust of the plot, so why do we spend so much time getting to know them? Why is April brought in so late in the picture if her role is so critical to the film’s final punch? And because there is no clear understanding as to what is motivating any of these characters, when Harrison finally has a crisis of conscience in the film’s climax we fail to understand why this revelation hasn’t hit him 1-2 years sooner. Admittedly, actress Danielle Lozeau (April) performs wonderfully in the final moments of the film and sells the notion that April is heart broken and forever changed by what she learns from Harrison. However, because we’ve barely even met her, not to mention have no idea what she’s been doing for the past three years, her cries and anguish ring hollow.

I’m aware that I have reviewed much worse films and have given those projects equal, if not better, scores than Misogynist. This may seem unfair to the filmmakers, but I’ll justify my opinion in this manner; the elements for a deeply moving and provocative experience are here, but too many missteps and poor decisions prevent this project from achieving what Rossi probably intends. The line between bad film and great film is very thin, and unfortunately for these filmmakers their margin for error was very narrow. From the choice of the main title to the film’s pacing, there are just too many problems to overcome. Editing down the “warehouse scene” and giving the audience more scenes to explore Trevor, Harrison, and April could have easily swung Rossi’s Misogynist into 4-star territory.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★★☆☆

Miso_4This production is quite competent and professional looking. I’ve seen many productions like Misogynist and this is one of the more professional looking independent ventures. From camera composition to performance blocking, every frame and camera movement is motivated organically through performance and a need to convey certain information. Rossi has a clear command of the technical merits of the production and it should be commended even if I don’t fully support the story or narrative.

The stereo sound design is natural and even. Dialogue is clear with balanced sound effects and music. There is nothing here to brag about, but like the visual presentation, Rossi has his team produce a professional and unobtrusive audial experience sure to go by unnoticed, but in a good way.

Extras Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Miso_8Behind the Scenes Clips (2:04): Someone shot footage with their smart phone but didn’t hold the phone properly. As a public service announcement I have included the below infograph to educate the unenlightened.

Phone Video

Beyond video framing problems, the featurette offers virtually nothing of consequence. One of the actors who plays a “warehouse scene” d-bag explains how he became involved in the project. A woman in the make-up department says she does make-up. That’s about the extent of the kind of information contained within.

Audio Commentary: The main supplement is the audio commentary between Director, Michael Matteo Rossi and star, Jon Briddell (Trevor). It’s a rather subdued track with little energy, but the two manage to keep things moving well enough to avoid lapses of silence and provide enough interesting information to fill the full 76 minute run time. Nothing earth shattering is discussed, but they talk about why Briddell took the role, inspirations for the film, observations on favorite shots or performances, and so forth.

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Miso_7The nagging question I’m left pondering is, for whom is this movie made? Certainly not women as the two main characters spend most of their time bad mouthing and degrading them. Would any self respecting woman subject themselves to 76 minutes of hearing “cunt” and “bitch” and “whore” in the hopes that one of these characters might get their just desserts?

Misogynist certainly isn’t for the male horror crowd looking for a rape/revenge flick in the vain of The Last House On The Left or I Spit On Your Grave. This is a movie more akin to a not-funny version of Swingers, but in this version Harrison and Trevor are not “so money.”

At best the movie is for couples who want to watch a morality tale about the dangers of abusive relationships. If Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream was the warning on the ravages of drug abuse and addiction, then I believe Misogynist is Rossi’s attempt to do the same for the dangers of male chauvinism. Unfortunately, the lessons are lost because Rossi, despite creating some strong pieces, fails to organize them into the complete whole.


- who has written 68 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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