Review of 'Consent'
The movie consent is itself a dramatic irony. From the outside looking in, through the eyes of the person watching the movie, the complex and perverse realities of the lives of the characters are clear but the characters wallow in their own denials’ and ignorance.
The movie centers around the consequence of the the suicide of the eldest sister, Samantha, in a wealthy family, the actuality of their lives after her death and their vicious digression into a life of drugs, alcohol, lies, betrayal, and inappropriate sexual conduct.
The title of the movie consent is befitting to the theme of the movie. Through noninterference, the parents of Joshua played by Peter Vack and Amanda played by Troian Bellisario, give their tacit consent to their children’s deregulated and atrocious reactions to their sister’s death and actions in their lives henceforth.
Peter Vack played his character, Joshua, with such striking vulnerability. Joshua is not oblivious to the death of his sister but he is in denial. The movie portrays him as the character that deals with pressing emotional burdens and his eventual breakdown, though dramatic in itself, is well suited for the weight that he had to carry.
Troian Bellisario executed the role of Amanda in a very insightful way. She is not in denial with respect to her sister’s death, at least not to the extent that her brother is. Amanda is simply in love with the idea of love. She does not romanticize the idea of love though, at least not in the sense of flowers and chocolates. She falls for a sadomasochist and she indulges his sexual preferences because he provided her with the greatest gift she could ever want, to be wanted. She indulges him despite protests from her brother.
The chemistry between Joshua and Amanda intensifies as the movie goes on and in every scene that they are together, you almost forget that they are siblings, you feel the perverse attraction, you hear every breath, you see every hair rise, and slowly, you begin to remember that you ought not see these things and hears these things. Amanda and Joshua subsequently act on their ill-disposed sexual attraction towards each other and she is ultimately rejected by the one person she thought would never reject her, her brother!
Their parents are living lies of their own, their mother being an alcoholic and their father cheating on their mother. There is a progressive acceptance of the realities of Samantha’s death manifested through flashbacks and anger towards each other and ultimately anger towards themselves.
The realities of the life of the family and the the people around them is not an outrageous reaction but rather, when put in context is a normal reaction to an outrageous situation. But perhaps, some might beg to differ especially when the incest in the movie is taken into account.
There are two realities in the movie, the reality that the family has been living and the reality that exists, and the movie focuses on the tensions, conflicts and an eventual reconciliation of the two realities.
In the end, as Josh rode off and his taxi ultimately blended with the disparate yet aggregated cars on the road, we are reminded that the dysfunctional realities portrayed in this movie are not exclusive to this family alone, but could happen to any family dealing with the inevitability of the death of a loved one!
The movie is breathtaking, raw, thrilling, transparent, vulnerable, heart drenching, well executed, and theatrical in its own right!!!