THE WOMAN–United States-2011
Sean Bridges as Chris Cleek
Angela Bettis as Belle Cleek
Lauren Ashley Carter as Peggy Cleek
Zach Rand as Brian Cleek
Carlee Baker as Genevieve Raton
Pollyanna McIntosh as The Woman
Directed by Lucky McKee
Written by Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum
Based on the novel “The Woman” by Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum
The Woman is a film about the thin line between the civilized and the uncivilized; between the decent and the depraved. There is a statement on the DVD box indicating that it was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. I get a strong feeling that the audience attending its premiere were wondering about the truck that hit them. The Woman will shock you, it will even disgust you; but it will not leave you. It’s been a few hours since I watched the film and I still can’t get it out of my head. I don’t think I ever will.
I’ve been watching movies for as far back as I can I remember and I am of the opinion that there has never been a character that I have hated more than that of Chris Cleek. It’s not because of bad acting. Sean Bridges brings an Oscar worthy performance to the role of Cleek. It’s not because of bad writing, either. The film is co-written by two of the most ingenious and twisted minds working in the horror genre today, author Jack Ketchum (Off Season, Offspring, The Girl Next Door) and director Lucky McKee (May, The Woods, Red). No, my hatred for Chris Cleek is because of the person that he is. To Cleek, women are slaves to fetch his coffee, an occasional place to put his penis and they are always there to slap around when they get out of line.
Cleek is a man so low that he would molest his teenage daughter. This is something that’s never mentioned in the film, but it doesn’t have to be. The knowledge of it festers throughout the course of this movie like a pus-filled wound ready to burst. Cleek’s wife, played beautifully by McKee mainstay Angela Bettis, is but a punching bag to him; he says jump, she doesn’t ask ‘how high’, she just does. His son, Brian, at 14 already displays the sociopathic, misogynistic tendencies of his father. When a girl bests him in a free throw contest, he congratulates her to her face, but then sticks gum in her hairbrush and plays the hero by helping her when she gets it stuck in her hair. Like Chris Cleek, he sees women as objects; but not only for his sexual satisfaction. They are for hurting, for torture. Just ask the one shackled in their storm cellar. That’s what this movie is all about; the woman.
The book ‘The Woman’ will be released to coincide with the film.
Chris Cleek repeatedly uses the word “anophthalmia” in reference to one of his daughters. Unilateral anophthalmia is the congenital absence of one eye, and bilateral anophthalmia is the congenital absence of both eyes.