Apr 12, 2011

We Are What We Are

 

This Mexican cannibal family drama had always clued in coupons of potential value for me. What better way to divert attention towards a soiled family ritual than to film it in the diseased streets of Mexico City? With this in mind, We Are What We Are opens on such a note to allow witness to a mud-complexioned vagrant stumbling about a sterile strip within a mall. Taking only a short amount of time to stare at mannequins with questionable intent, this unknown character begins to slowly crash to the floor, spitting up a toxic black slime in the process (which is never explained). After crawling a few feet, this man eventually passes away and is carried off by mall officials. We Are What We Are's debut scene sparks what is to be the cause & effect device as it glimpses into the life of a cannibalistic family without a pack leader. In addition, you also receive an irritating bumbling police subplot which is the bane of my existence. The opening scene almost resembles foreshadowing. Not the looming presence of capture or possibly death, no, rather, hints towards how esoteric the final product turns out. Not only does We Are What We Are activate my gag reflex in question to picking sides but it also stands as a film that held such dear promise, fleeting moments of brilliance, that it actually pisses me off to the extent of how convoluted the finished piece is.



Undeniably beautiful to look at, We Are What We Are then zeros in on this man's family - an introverted circlejerk of varying hermit clichés and enough insecurities to fuel the subtle incestuous tone throughout. If We Are What We Are accomplishes a single thing, it would be tossing out the need for courtesy and/or professionalism as its sordid roots stem deep in its own belligerence on account of teenage cannibals. Once the family discovers that their father has passed away - word from the sobbing daughter who inexplicably happened to catch wind of gossip - the mother experiences bouts of seclusion and leaves her children to starve. If you were to enter We Are What We Are with no prior knowledge of what you will encounter, the film's cannibal aspect might conceal itself nicely until the shocking realization that they are referring to human flesh. But if this was the case, one would not venture off the beaten path to watch it. Come on, a Mexican family drama? Once the already-existing revelation of dining on "long pigs" is pronounced, We Are What We Are encompasses its family values in a very uncommon manner - the hunting of humans. The plot begins to juggle rude commentary on the steady flow of whores prowling the streets to the fragility of family life and the responsibility of being the "man of the house". One thing I'd like to add is my adoration of younger brother Julian's (Alan Chávez) short temper. In many-a scene do we find the irrationality of his gene pool break through, leaving him beating women and various offenders of his being. Chalk this up in line with the misogynistic genius of Nicolas Cage's performance in The Wicker Man (2006). In related news, actor Alan Chávez was killed in 2009 from what I'd presume to be a gunshot wound following a dispute with both friends and police.



The previous fixation from man to whores doesn't come from sexual gratification of any kind, which throws the reasoning behind the mothers stern rules of never eating whores off balance. In a scene of psychopathy and unwarranted jealously, the mother acts on impulse and beats a captive whore to death before the children could dine on her flesh. Instead on consumption, the mother instead wraps the dead slut in a sheet and drops her on the street corner in front of shocked escorts and ladyboys. Threatening death to the tramps for making passes at her lovely sons, this scene sets up for a greater thrill in the end. The effectiveness of We Are What We Are stops at about this point. The disconcerted, dysfunctional family turn of expression is exhausted before the credits are given a chance to roll. I admire that makings of a cannibal drama without filthy sensationalism. I am all for new ideas and pathways to reach cinematic goals. For this aspect, We Are What We Are is an enjoyable ride for over an hour. Essentially, the naivety of the children and the mysterious fanaticism of this clan is so high that you'd rather witness the origins of the upbringing of radicalism to the family rather than an aspiring teenage alpha male french kiss a "fag" in a night club in an effort to devour gay meat. In the end, We Are What We Are stands as a reasonably frustrating discourse that is heavy on the melodrama and light on the sauce. There are ample opportunities for redemption that We Are What We Are aimlessly wanders past so for this reason, I cannot pity. Though as it stands, We Are What We Are does seem to have a perfect ending for a film of this caliber. You just have to wade through healthy helpings of tripe to get to it. 


-mAQ

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