First off, this film is one of the more unique I have ever watched. It does not fit into any specific genre as it combines romance, mystery, drama, comedy and yes, horror into a strange film you cannot turn off. I have watched it multiple times and with each viewing find something new I did not catch before. There is nothing I would change about this film.
Don't let the reviews that tout this as soft-core porn or a movie about BDSM or twisted sex games gone wrong unduly influence you. The BDSM scenes are indeed integral to the story, as the story is about excess, extremes, and coping.
Yes, there are some kinky sex scenes and descriptive narrations, but at its root it is a story about power (the power of love, infatuation, hate, obsession, cruelty, revenge) and how dangerous that power can be when employed by a selfish person and not tempered with compassion or empathy. How that power can be used to destroy a life, even if seemingly unintentional.
Oscar is a selfish, older man obsessed with pursuing his sexual needs. He "thinks" he falls in love with a beautiful young woman (Mimi), only to grow bored with her after the infatuation stage is over. She is naïve, somewhat innocent (open to debate), and truly loves him. He is only interested in the wild, sensual sex and how far he can ratchet up the sensations.
Ironically, it is the older Oscar who mistakes infatuation/sex for true love while the younger Mimi merely uses it as an expression of her love. For those with a basic understanding of SM relationships (Dom and sub), we see that Mimi first plays the role of the Dom within the bedroom, pleasing Oscar to his delight through various physical acts.
When these roles are reversed, however, we find that Oscar is a terrible dominant – disregarding the nurturing aspect of D/s and taking it too far with emotional and psychological cruelty. Instead of using this role reversal to show love, he instead uses it in an attempt to drive her away from him as he becomes completely indifferent to her. Basically, he is a terrible, selfish person and ultimately abandons her so he can purse random sex with other women. At this point Mimi is "poisoned" (as Oscar's narrative references movie title).
The once naïve and innocent Mimi re-enters his life after an accident, only now she is cold, hateful, lost, and seeking a type of revenge, perhaps to show she is worthy of his love after all (yeah, it is screwed up). Oscar has basically ruined her life (watch and you will see how in gruesome detail), depriving her of any future normal relationship due to his extremes For this reason, she becomes just as cruel (if not more so) than him – in a perverse effort to become like the man she loves.
Even as she matures, she still only exists to others as he defined her from their relationship – that of a sexual object. Oscar stays the same creepy, narcissistic bastard to the bitter end; it is really only Mimi whose personality evolves at all – even if it is in the wrong direction.
There is MUCH more to the movie than be summarized here, and for fear of spoilers I will not go into any detail. But is a film you cannot forget and will want to watch several times. It is dark, brooding and tragic, with complex psychological elements – definitely leaves an impression.
Every guy needs to see this film, if for no other reason than to see the horrors that such selfishness can produce. Sure, not all every woman used and discarded will turn into Mimi, but this movie makes you examine yourself and realize that damage is still being done even if not to such an extreme.
Unless you are just simply not paying attention, you cannot walk away the same person as the story does stick with you. Yes, it is ultimately a love story (Mimi's love story – not Oscar's), but one unlike any you have ever seen before. The movie is deep, thought-provoking, and gruesome. I think you have to be 35+ or emotionally mature to really appreciate or understand its dark beauty and savagery.
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