REVIEW – Savage (2010)

Videovista have my review of Brendan Muldowney’s Irish thriller Savage:

The concept of a crisis in masculinity is undeniably an interesting one but Savage seems more of a victim of this crisis than a commentary upon it. Having asked the question of what it means to be a man in the modern world, Muldowney fails to see past male complicity in patriarchal oppression and so he struggles to come up with any conceptions of masculinity that are not anchored in adolescent willy-worrying and cartoonish levels of violence.

Savage‘s problem is reflected in Jonathan Liu’s recent piece for The New York Observer:

From the back row, looking at the sea of shiny pink scalps, it was easy to chalk up the whole scene to a category error: Someone mistaking the biographical decline of a man—namely himself—for a historical Decline of Men. Yet, strange as it may sound, grown men still have influence—if only on not-grown men—and should perhaps not be cut the slack reserved for the subjugated and infantilized.

In other words, it is difficult to delve into the issue of what it means to be a man in the 21st century without such delving coming across as either a misogynistic entitlement whine, an attempt at historical revisionism or (as is the case with Savage) slavish adherence to popular prejudice and received wisdom.