Thursday, March 23, 2017

Capture Kill Release

Couple Jennifer and Farhang plan to kill a random stranger. They buy a camera to document the entire process plus the more mundane parts of their lives. Together, they plan the specific ways to get it done that include fine details to obscure the body's identity and strip it of evidence. At first, both seem equally excited as they shop at the hardware store for needed supplies and discuss who they would want to murder while people watching in their car. However, when Jen seriously wants to choose a specific person, Farhang gets cold feet and tries to protest everything from her choice of person to their methods that he helped plan. Jen secretly won't let him ruin her plans.

Capture Kill Release is a found footage film that has a much different story than usual. So many in this subgenre focus on supernatural elements, but this one is completely based in reality. It's simply two people planning to kill others. Jennifer and Farhang use a modern digital camera as well as old camcorders to document their whole journey from the planning stages to collecting supplies to carrying out their plans (not always together). Their plan to kill someone is chillingly specific. Jennifer wants to knock them out and strangle them to death while they are conscious (so they are aware of what is happening to them). Farhang comes up with the idea of how to dispose of the body: draining the body of blood and dismembering it in the bathtub. Jennifer thinks of the fine details like removing and destroying the teeth and burning the fingerprints off. They have thought of almost everything and prepare well. Their nonchalant discussions, detailed descriptions, and obvious arousal about the plan make their conversations all the more disturbing.

The best character in the film is Jennifer, a slight woman with a hidden bloodlust. Outwardly, she seems normal, even pleasant. It was a little jarring to hear her talk about how she would kill someone while she was animated and excited about it. Jennifer Fraser imbues the character Jennifer with joy about every aspect of planning and carrying out the murder. Her sunny facade breaks a few times, especially when Farhang is opposing her in some way. She isn't afraid to lie, cheat, manipulate, command, and scream to get her way. The horror of her plans and actions never affects her at all.  She seems to have a fundamental disconnect with other people and emotions. For instance, she considers a cat cute and kills it anyway. Farhang's horror and sadness about that situation doesn't impact her at all because she doesn't understand it. She can also easily plan to kill either someone who has angered her or someone she's friendly with. It makes no difference to her. I think she loves Farhang as much as she is able to. He seems to be the first person to love her for her real self. He can hear all her true desires and love her anyway. She seems to mistake him for someone just like her, which proves to be untrue.

Farhang at first seems excited about their plans, but then shoots them down at every turn when it seems close to becoming reality. Through the events of the film, it becomes clear that his motivation is mostly likely Jennifer's interest and arousal. When they play with the camera in their bedroom, Jennifer falls asleep even though she was the one to suggest videotaping them having sex. Alternatively, when they are discussing draining and dismembering bodies in their bathtub, they passionately make love. He let it go way too far and spin out of control. What did he expect after buying the supplies they talked about and planning in such detail? If he wasn't into going the whole way, he should have been honest and said something much earlier instead of trying to undermine her. Farhang is a bit of a spineless worm. He refuses to participate in the murder, but then he chooses to do so when Jennifer insists. Afterwards, he takes no responsibility. His way of coping is pretending it never happened, freezing Jennifer out, and going on with his life, which proves to blow up in his face.

Capture Kill Release is an interesting film with aspects that oppose convention. From the non-supernatural subject matter to the beautiful and cheerful but sinister killer, each aspect has surprising elements. The last act has the most flaws in logic and execution. It doesn't completely fall apart and the ending still feels powerful. Overall, the film feels raw and realistic, especially in its violence. Farhang acts as a proxy for audience in his reactions and his struggle to cope. I love that both characters have dimensions that I can relate to and also repulse or exasperate me. They feel like real people trying to balance staying true to themselves with what they think is best for their relationship. Capture Kill Release is memorable and I will definitely be revisiting it in the future.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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