Salo (1975)

One needs to approach an update of a Marquis de Sade work with a certain mindset – I understand that.  But Salo simply fell flat on too many fronts to appreciate it for the study of power that it was meant to be.  The villains of the story, of course, are repugnant.  What a person is really supposed to take away from the story, though, is the dehumanization of their subjects.  By creating such a large “study group”, however, the director effectively renders each of them anonymous – the viewer ends up seeing each as the same nameless face as their tormentors.  I also found their subservience coming a bit too easily from the outset.  The dialogue is laughable although one can almost forgive that since much of it is essentially an English-dubbed version of an Italian movie that is an update of a French work…a lot is bound to be lost in the translation.  Some scenes may have also lost their initial punch because today’s viewer is a lot more jaded than anyone who saw this in the 70s.  Overall, I was sadly disappointed.  It was hard to make it through the movie not because of its admittedly debased material but because I was just numb to what was going on – Director Pierre Paolo Pasolini simply didn’t make me care and that is the film’s largest failing.

Stars: 1/5


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