Ms. 45 / Angel of Vengeance (1981)
“No, you are much too beautiful to be a model.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, the film is filled with “striking, highly stylized” imagery, “much humor”, and “weird yet believable characters” (including Tamerlis’s nosy landlady, and her landlady’s annoying dog, Phil).
Unknown Tamerlis gives a “strong, sympathetic, sexy performance” as mute Thana; indeed, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else in this unique role.
Unfortunately, she made few films after Ms. 45, and died of a drug overdose at the age of 37.
Note: In his review, Peary makes an astute comparison between Ms. 45 and Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965), noting that “both [women] suffer sexual harassment going to and from work, both kill men who force themselves on them; [and] while corpses rot in their apartments… both lapse into temporary shock states.” But while Deneuve’s Carole “goes crazy”, Tamerlis “remains rational” in her quest to wreak revenge.
One thought on “Ms. 45 / Angel of Vengeance (1981)”
A once-must as an acknowledged cult item – but I’m not personally wildly enthusiastic.
At its core, ‘Ms. 45’ is (admirably) a film about a woman who becomes unhinged as the result of rape. As a film, ‘Ms. 45’ ultimately becomes unhinged itself.
Although served up in a more or less realistic manner, the film is best approached in a non-realistic way. Some of it is awkward and strains necessary credulity – both esp. in the first half. But the film does begin to ‘boogie’ about the midway point. (Does it ever.) Gradually, though, you may very well lose the thread of the heroine’s ‘logic’. (And, of course, that may be the point, but it doesn’t really work for me.) As things escalate, Ferrara’s confident, detached direction turns fully stylized – as if he had no other choice. Still, ambiguity reigns here – and that could very well lead to lively discussion after.
I will admit that, throughout, Tamerlis is indeed “haunting” in the lead role. She’s so committed that you buy it, even if simultaneously you may not get it.
The film is shot amazingly well on a low budget.
And the final shot is a very unexpected and welcome relief.
Currently available on YouTube in a single clip.