14th May2011

‘Breaking Nikki’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Maria Ines Alonso, Oliver Kolker, Veronica Mari, Maxime Seuge | Written by Nicanor Loreti | Directed by Hernan Findling

If you like your horror dark, psychological and sometimes disturbing Breaking Nikki may be the movie for you. You just have to be prepared to be very confused at times.

Basically the movie is about a guy whose wife has left him. He contacts a prostitute with relatively the same looks as her and asks her to play the role. As the movie progresses he takes her captive and attempts to brainwash her into believing she is the woman he has lost.

This is OK as an idea for a movie I guess but my problem with it was it was very confusing. I do get the feeling though this is the whole point. As the viewer we do not just get to watch the brainwashing and torture process but we get to experience the delusion that starts to take over Nikki (the prostitute) as the attempts to make her “Susan” become more aggressive and in ways more believable that she is in fact Susan. It reaches a point where through changing of actresses and changing of viewpoints we as the viewer can’t tell who we are actually seeing, is it Nikki or is it actually Susan?

To a point this annoyed me, but it’s only at the end of the movie that you fully understand why we are seeing what we are seeing. Nikki does not give in as easy as would have been hoped and it’s in this we get to see the torture reaching extreme scales and an attempt to fully reprogram the woman is put into effect. This is of course a strange thing to watch and quite disturbing at times. It makes for an interesting experience as you can’t tell at times who is in fact winning the battle of wills, you would hope of course this would be Nikki and that she would escape. There are no clues as to if this would be the case of course and this is not a movie that wants to even hint at a happy ending.

If this type of movie is going to be believable the acting has to be good, and this is the case. Nikki played by Maria Ines Alonso is a stand out character as she has to play a dual role really. She is a professional doing her job which means at times she has to be subservient to the client, but when the whole act she is playing becomes more than what she is paid for her real character comes out. Even though she is a prostitute (which normally means somebody is providing her for the service) she is a strong independent woman who fights against the torture and brainwashing that is attempted on her. The movie looks at the attempt to break her and break her will; the main aim is to change her into a completely different person. Of course if she gave in straight away there would not be that much of a movie to watch so of course she is strong willed.

With this movie I’d not say it’s that good, but it is interesting. It’s dark, disturbing and it keeps your attention till the end. Some will struggle during the second half as things start to get very strange and the director tries to confuse the watcher and everything you see on the screen can’t be trusted, but this is what I think they are trying to achieve. If you stick with it till the end though when everything is revealed you realise that it’s quite an interesting way to tell the story, even if slightly done incorrectly (in my opinion). If you want to keep the audience interested in the story you have to find a level between confusion and intrigue. This is something this movie definitely struggles with. I will also say don’t watch this for a lighthearted tale of love and obsession; I’d argue that this movie is as dark as it can get in that respect. It’s about how obsession with a person goes too far and how it can destroy the psyche of not only the obsessive but also their victims.

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