If someone wants to make a point, they will take you the length of
something, anything, and then spring it on you. This film, is such an
However, this film just has one of those understated feelings, none of the
acting stands out, probably because it might give the film away, and for the
majority of the film, it has moments that are just trying to "break out"
this rather monotonous film, into something else.
To his credit, and the actors, the director does not allow any of the film
to fall into anything except his complete story. The insect is friendly,
until the tide changes, and then it attacks. This film does the same. The
story centers around a man that has just come back from the Amazon, in what
has been found out to be a disastrous mission for a group of scientists.
This one managed to survive, and has found his way back home to England. He
ends up taking up a stay with a rather generous rich man, who has similar
interests, and who decides to sponsor this scientist of insects.
All is fine, until the younger brother gets upset because this outsider, a
commoner at that, has found his way into the family. As time continues, we
find that the scientist has an interest in one of the family's daughters,
one who apparently has suffered a rather unfortunate fate. She was married
and her husband promptly dies, in what may be considered odd circumstances,
which we never learn about. It's the upper class.... they get away with a
lot of things. What these might be is another question. But a hint does show
itself one time when the younger brother challenges the scientist to a duel,
which is refused.
Eventually, this marriage takes place. The scientist continues his studies,
and his helper is none other than his wife's sister, whose interest in his
profession is uncannily similar to his. She is an astute observer. And with
her help, a book gets published, and a successful working agreement starts.
The marriage lasts. And after a few hints, and moments here and there, and
an inordinate amount of children, the damn finally breaks. In the form of a
child that may have been some sort of revenge on the younger brother, by a
And the film takes on the vicious attitude that ant colonies can take with
each other. All of a sudden, the civilized are the real insects, and the
film comes to a quick resolution and ending.
This is an acting showcase. The people in it have to maintain their space as
well as they can, and never hint at anything. Of course, this was the way in
the Victorian age anyway, where everything happened behind closed doors and
the maids and everyone else in the house was not exactly not a part of it.
A very well directed film, although slow, the lines are delivered with the
same deliberateness that the ant colonies work. It seems to be its main
theme. And as such, the film ends up developing a statement about who is the
real savage and the angel. The innocent whose live it is anyway, or those
who ought to know better, and do nothing about it. Very few films will do
this correctly without giving it away. There are hints, yes... looking back
on it. But they are so subtle that we really make nothing of it... the film
really makes no reason for us to pay attention to those moments. They seem
so natural, a part of the
natural evolution of things... until we find out what was really behind it
Excellent film, very well directed and beautifully thought out. But the
ending may really shake one up. It is brutal in ways more than one.
Copyright © 1997 Pedro Sena