FELT is one of those films I have a hard time reviewing. Part of me liked the film, while part of me did not. I don’t usually state such things up front when I write a review, but I feel you need to know what you’re in for if you watch this one. On the surface, FELT comes across as a rape-revenge flick; but when you dig deeper, you feel like you’re being preached at. Granted, the message is a good one…however, I didn’t feel any entertainment satisfaction when the movie ended. In short, this film did not do much for me.
If you are not familiar with FELT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:
From acclaimed director Jason Banker (TOAD ROAD) and based on the real experiences and art of co-writer/star Amy Everson comes the “unshakeable” (Movie Mezzanine), “surreal” (Entertainment Weekly) and “stunning” (Ain’t It Cool News) feminist thriller about a woman on the edge: As she struggles to cope with past sexual trauma and the daily aggressions of a male-dominated society, Amy (Everson, in her movie debut) creates grotesquely-costumed alter egos that give her a sense of power. But when she starts a new relationship with a seemingly nice guy (Kentucker Audley of AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS), her vulnerability comes at a cost, and those alter egos lash out, threatening to lead her down a nightmarish path of vengeance. “Felt is a beautiful lm from one of the most exciting new directors working today,” raves BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH., “anchored by an astonishing performance by an artist without any previous acting experience. It is an extraordinary movie.”
I know I’m not supposed to judge a book (or a movie) by its cover, but the DVD imagery for FELT suggests a film experience similar to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. I mean, a picture of two hands holding a pair of open scissors right above a crotch is definitely a serious metaphor, right? Sadly, this is not the case.
FELT is shot well and looks good onscreen for the most part. Some of the cinematography is a bit shakier than I normally care for, but I’m always willing to overlook that in a lower-budget film. Strangely, I couldn’t peg what kind money this film had to work with; it looks higher end on some levels, but then it regresses sometimes into cheaper territory.
The acting is very good, with newcomer Amy Everson delivering a solid performance. I understand this is her debut, and she does a wonderful job in the role. As this film is based on personal experiences in her life, I’m sure it was a labor of love for her in the portrayal.
The story in FELT is where I find the true problems. It’s just…weird. Amy creates costumes for different personas to try and escape the serious issues in her life. She even goes to far as to create a fake penis, which she wears around. But there’s no real cohesion to the film. It feels jumbled to me, and as such, I had a difficult time pinpointing what emotion to feel in each scene.
I can’t really give FELT a positive or negative recommendation. It’s just one of those films that…is. Take it for what it is, or take it symbolically; I suppose the choice is truly up to the viewer. The film is available now in a variety of formats if you choose to take a look.