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29 July 2010 @ 02:25 pm
Movie Review: Karla  

I had to review this because I watched it recently and have been following the case for years.

This film is one that I waited to watch by myself. I don't know about anyone else, but whenever there are films that I know are going to be somewhat upsetting (usually films containing rape or other forms of severe violence or torture) I have to watch them alone. I feel weird watching them with anyone else because I'm constantly worried that they are freaking out watching it or wondering what the hell is wrong with me. So I waited until my husband went on vacation with his friends to pull this one off Netflix.

For those that don't know the case, I'll make it VERY short. In the 1990's, Paul Bernando and Karla Homolka basically terrorized an area of Canada by kidnapping, torturing, raping, and killing women and young girls. Before Karla, Paul had already made a small career of raping women and once he met Karla, she decided to join in on his crimes. One large part of this whole case is that Karla helped drug her little sister so Paul could rape her and the girl ended up dying as a result. From everything I have heard, if you ever mention anything about the case to people who lived in Canada at that time period, they know exactly what you are talking about because everyone was terrified for quite a while. The kicker to this case was that once they were discovered, Karla only received twelve years after basically telling what had happened after Paul beat the living hell out of her. She now is free, allowed to live her life, after helping commit the crimes that landed her husband into a life sentence.

Moving onto the actual movie review, I'll first mention the actors. They made it very intriguing to me as well because I'm a huge That 70's Show fan and Supernatural fan. The idea of seeing Castiel and Donna as a pair of psychos really was something I wanted to see. They pulled it off. I'm very surprised that they didn't get any awards for their acting. For those of you that really like Castiel, or like Misha and would have a hard time dealing with this, you may not want to watch it. He's a horrible person in it, but he does an excellent job portraying him. Laura also does an excellent job as Karla. The stronger fun persona I usually relate to her is nowhere in this film. Instead, she is so engrossed with Misha's character that she commits horrendous acts and allows him to do terrible things to her.

As far as the theme of this goes, one may believe that they are in for a load of awful rape scenes. That's something that turns me from a movie immediately. I just loathe rape scenes to the point where I will get up and leave and have someone come get me when they're done. However, they are more implied in this film than anything. You don't really see a lot of it, which I was grateful for. I have read reviews and a lot of people think it makes the movie lame, but I disagree. This shit really happened. Whether you see it or not, you know it's there and the fact that anyone could do this to another person is sick. That's something I don't like about filmgoers these days. Without visual stimulation, so many people cannot understand how disturbing something can be. I have seen several films where the violence is off-screen and often feel it makes it worse because your mind then wanders and starts to make up what may be happening.

One thing I really didn't care for in the film was the way Karla was portrayed. If you watched this and knew nothing about the case, you may feel that Paul made her do everything she did unwillingly and she hated everything she did and was another victim essentially. I feel like it portrays her as another victim. They failed to mention that after she was given her plea, the videotapes of the rapes and murders were discovered, showing that she was getting just as much pleasure out of what happened as her husband. Again, this was all real. This woman is out now, allowed to live within society after the horrific crimes that were committed. It was obvious that Paul beat the shit out of her, but I'm sorry, that's no excuse for her to get a shorter sentence. How many serial murders, rapists, sadists, and flat out psychos were not abused at one point in their life? Let's take a little count. See what I mean? Your husband beat you. A lot of husbands beat their wives. That doesn't mean you help him commit rape and murder. I just wish that part would have been included in the film.

I give it a 3 out of 5. It's well acted and disturbing as hell. However, if you want something more accurate and considerably more disturbing, check out the real case file. Several crime shows have done specials on it and do a damn good job of it.
I feel: cheerfulcheerful
I'm listening to: KQ Morning Show Podcast
Kerri: Heroes | Boomkaczurda on July 29th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you've written - I think the acting was fantastic, but the portrayal of Karla bothered me. I know enough about the case to know that Karla is by no means innocent, and I think this film is too kind to her.

I had to watch this film alone, too. I just feel downright uncomfortable when I'm watching films with rape and other people are around. Sometimes it's not so bad and I can handle it, but this film definitely has some of the more graphic rape scenes I've seen. *shudder*

I think the most disturbing part of this film is that it's based on a true story... hard to imagine that people can actually do these terrible things.
Princess Robot Bubblegum!astrothsknot on July 30th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
I thought the film made it quite clear that she was every bit as bad as Bernardo was, particularly in the court scenes when the prosecutor's asking her things and it's plain that she's enjoying the limelight and telling a version of the truth so she'll get a lighter sentence. I felt that prosecuter's contempt for her dripped off the screen. In many ways he was the proxy for what the film-makers thought of her.

Edited at 2010-07-30 12:12 am (UTC)
Lady Mansonladymanson on July 30th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
I thought they did a decent job at the end, but as far as the rest of the film, she seemed much more victimized to me.