Film Reviews:

Boy Meets Girl

(Ray Brady, UK, 1994)

A man meets a woman in a bar, the two go back to her flat and begin watching porno films. The man passes out and wakes to find himself strapped to a dentist chair. The woman, along with her accomplice, begins torturing the man, eventually killing him.

That's it... the whole storyline to director/producer/writer Ray Brady's low budget and controversial thriller. The point of a film like Boy Meets Girl is not so much to tell a story but to address an issue - that of violence and the portrayal of violence. What, in effect, becomes a movie monologue for writers Brady and Jim Crosbie is broken down into many short vignettes, each with its own introductory title card; beginning with "New Experiences", through "I Lied" and "Blind Date" then onto "People in Real Life Don't Walk Around With Bullet Holes in Them". Each has its own message, each adding weight to the argument as a whole. The argument is a complex one and one which is directed at you, as a viewer. Can you identify with the attitudes the male character stands for? Are you as guilty as he? He is used and abused by his two dominant female captors, held up as an example of the worst kind of tabloid mentality; he is made to pay for (accepted) social attitudes and behaviour that his captors (and the film makers) believe is wrong.

Boy Meets Girl is a bold and important film. It is full of subtle but controversial arguments. To dismiss it because of its bondage/sadistic trappings (as some have already done) is to miss the point entirely. How else could the director have approached the subject matter? Possibly as a documentary, but then that would loose the frisson of making the viewer an active participant in the debate. It is a film of violent ideas but it is not a barrage of graphic images. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has passed countless numbers of films more violent than Boy Meets Girl, yet refuses to give it a certificate. As the director of the BBFC, James Ferman must take the responsibility for denying you, the public, the chance to see a film which, for once, has a totally violent subject matter but does not glamorise it. Which is more than can be said of so many Hollywood studio pictures Mr Ferman has gladly issued with certificates. Explicit violence has always been a contentious issue in cinema, but never, in a so-called democracy, should honesty about violence be treated like the glorification of violence. Shame on you Mr Ferman. For all its minor faults (most often due to the low budget) a film like Boy Meets Girl does not deserve to be treated in the manner it has been in Britain. What it does deserve is the wide distribution a certificated theatrical release would get and respect for its viewpoint. At least this film attempts to broach a controversial subject responsibly. It's just a sad statement about the double standards that exist in the British film classification system that it could take a long time before many of the public get to see it.

Rob Dyer