Donkey Punch is a British thriller on the high seas. A group of four young men
and three young women gather on a yacht for a wild night of partying. In the
drug-fueled revelry, one of the women is killed in the midst of coitus - while
being filmed, no less. Three of the men have some legal culpability for her
death, and just want to sweep the story under the rug, indeed several hundred
feet under the rug, in Davy Jones's locker. If they dump the girl overboard and
jettison the video tape, they reason, they can just say that the girl had to
much to drink and fell overboard.
In the real world, the other two girls would either go along with this plan
temporarily or go along with it permanently. If they truly want to support the
story, it would be for their own good, because they can't bring their friend
back to life, and a trial would reveal lots of embarrassing details about their
casual approach to sex and illegal drugs, and would do so on tape. If they can't
support the story in good conscience, they still need to pretend to do so in
order to avoid antagonizing the three men who might end up on trial for murder.
After all, they can always change their minds later, once they are no longer
under the thumbs of the men.
But this is a movie, not the real world. They women immediately start to raise a
useless fuss, thus causing the three guilty men to consider the possibility of allowing
the last two women to join their friend on the sea bottom. Predictably, the four men also
develop some disagreements about the proper course of action. The three guilty
ones start jockeying and bickering amongst themselves while the
fourth lad, as required by the plot bible, has a conscience and doesn't want any
more people to get hurt. The boat is filled with firearms, knives, flare guns
and other objects which can be used as weapons, so everyone eventually has a
chance to threaten everyone else, and the film eventually becomes a gore-fest.
Many of the British critics disliked the movie and I can see why. It is
a nasty one, filled with sex, nudity, extreme drug use, and gruesome violence. I
take the position that the film actually does a great job at what it sets out to
do, which is to deliver a shocking thriller, a Hitchcock-style film with modern
levels of NC-17 explicitness. It pulls absolutely no punches in either phase of
the film. In the set-up phase, the revelers talk dirty and get naked. In the
cover-up phase, the various acts of violence are handled balls-to-the-wall. I've
seen my share of screen carnage, but there were some close-up scenes in this
movie that had me looking away. Is that sort of graphic presentation a good
thing? Yes, sort of. As I watched it, it seemed real. It seemed ugly. It had me
emotionally involved. A couple of the deaths were pretty damned spectacular.
And the dramatic tension was racheted up to a high level and maintained so
effectively that I overlooked the lapses in logic.
In other words, I have to reach the conclusion that the filmmaker made an effective movie
even though I would never watch such a flick for pleasure and wish I had not
seen it. It may be nasty, but one must concede that it does deliver the lurid
It was released on 155 screens in the UK, which is about equivalent to a
1000-screen release in the USA. The results were unspectacular.
in 10th place on the July 20th weekend, such a weak result that it lost about half of
its theaters after the first week, and thus dropped 85% on its second weekend. That
was about all she wrote. The final tally was only about $600,000. There has been
no North American release to date, but
Mojo says that it's on the docket for January, 2009.
Sian Breckin and Jaime
Winstone. Sian is the blonde who gets killed.