Mirror of Filth is one of the rare films that live up to its title. It is dirty, dark, depressing and somewhat engaging. It is a story of how one man can be trapped inside his own depravity so deep that all the pleasures of his world leave him numb and distraught instead.
Chris (Jamie Wilson, also co-writer/co-director) is, for lack of a better word, the film’s hero in Mirror of Filth. He spends his nights trying to seduce an array of women, but mostly fails and resorts to browsing the discount racks of his local porn store and awkward rendezvous in his car with prostitutes. Chris doesn’t seem to seek companionship in these encounters; they seem to be more for the sheer pleasure of getting himself off at the hands of as many women as possible. He is a broken man, and the film scratches the surface of his sorrow, but I felt this element of his character and ultimately what propels the story seemed to be missing. Sex addiction can be one thing, but there may have been more to why Chris behaves the way he does in this film, unfortunately it is not brought into the fore-front as it should be.
Chris tries to feed his sexual desires more and more. He tries his luck at swingers parties to no avail, and even manages to bed a stripper one night, who doesn’t even know his name. This just leads Chris’ downward spiral more and more, which at this point in the film seems to over stay its welcome before moving on in the narrative. These scenes are frankly shot and well presented, with graphic and quite realistic sexuality and nudity. These scenes however fail to achieve nothing more than shock value, and as Co-Writer/Co-Director Ivan Malekin tread through the redundancy, the film’s nihilistic climax leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.
The film is painted very well by directors Malekin and Wilson along with cinematographer Stewart Fairweather, who depict Chris’s seamy night life with a keen eye for the macabre. Inky blacks mirrored with the electric neon glow of sex command the visuals, and the production value in translating that underbelly of society is tremendous. The film opens with a very exciting credit sequence that most definitely sets the mood ahead. Mirror of Filth is very well made, don’t get me wrong, but I found through all the fine visuals as well as the bravery and fearlessness in the actor’s performances the film comes off as a very one-note story that didn’t really have much of a satisfying denouement. Steve McQueen’s Shame comes to mind as another film about a man’s ever-growing depravity, and although it’s ending was just as ambiguous as Mirror of Filth, the story and characters leading up to the end made us care about what would happen to them. Mirror of Filth, for all its good points, just doesn’t have any one character that we can either love or hate at its core, which is its only major downfall.
Mirror of Filth is currently touring the film festival market. You can find out all about the film by visiting the production company’s website here: http://www.npgroup.com.au