Not to be even remotely confused with the excellent 1991 Michael Tolkin film, starring Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny; Apostoly Peter Kouroumalis or “Toly Ak”’s The Rapture is…uhhhh certainly something. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s the worst film ever made because there are others far more deserving of the title. It’s just possibly the most derivative and uncomfortably boring thing I’ve seen in quite some time.
I hate saying things like this, you must understand. I am fairly complimentary in my reviews for the most part, but sometimes, even I…just….can’t. Let me preface this by saying that I was warned about Toly Ak’s movies beforehand, but I was thinking that I’ve seen some really, really bad movies so this one’s not going to be anything I can’t handle, and I was able to sit through it. However, it didn’t take more than five minutes to see what I was getting myself into.
The entirety of The Rapture could very loosely be described as an “art film” if you use that to define a movie that a high school art student made in class. There’s not much effort to keep the shots still. There’s a vast majority of paint on film and film splatter, some of which is actually pretty cool. It makes up about ¾ of the 75-minute film, however. There’s also some genre of noise music playing in the background that sounds like something JG Thirlwell might’ve thought of doing but then decided against it. It’s not baaaad, but it’s kind of…boring.
“…experimental feature where sexual repression has been seen in many forms throughout the ages…”
Also, most of the movie, I was irritated because, in my mind, this entire thing Toly Ak was going for has already been done before a thousand times over by much more capable directors, who had similar budgets but still managed to create far better pieces of work. The number one person I thought of that Toly might be ripping off (if he even knows who he is) is Richard Kern. The camera angles of Genevieve Beauvais are incredibly reminiscent of those on Lung Leg in Submit To Me Now. I do understand that people have influences, so if that is the case for Toly, then more power to him, but make something different. Very few people care about paint splatter on a projector and illusions to semen being done in 2019 because it’s been done in the art world about a thousand different ways by twice that many artists FOREVER.
In positives, there’s a swath of found footage with live scenes projected over them towards the end. There’s an interesting scene with some footage from an old film with people ice skating superimposed. As well as a scene from the same old movie with the dialogue switched from another old movie. I think that Flowers For Algernon might be in there somewhere if not, it’s another movie with a mouse in the maze. These particular scenes were pretty cool, but by the point, we get there, I was about ready to throw in the towel on the whole thing.
Basically, I feel as though this film is the product of a 90’s mall-goth who smoked a lot of weed, watched a lot of Kenneth Anger and Richard Kern movies and went and got his mom’s video camera out of a closet. Except, Toly is 47. I’m not going to begrudge him for making movies. He can be applauded for creating art and making films for quite some time, I just think there is a case for evolving as an artist, and usually, it’s a good idea to evolve alongside the art you’re trying to create unless you’re an enigmatic genius. Toly Ak might consider himself to be one, but in my opinion, he really isn’t.
“…doesn’t need to worry about what I think…”
Insofar as what a plot might be or what the movie’s about, I can’t tell you, so I will use this quote from Toly Ak’s YouTube page. The Rapture is apparently an “experimental feature where sexual repression has been seen in many forms throughout the ages – life can get hard so much so that any liberating moments are met with feelings of guilt from stifling religion or authority figures, so much so that you may feel like a rat in a maze,” I’ll stop there. This sounds like the manifesto of some guy trying to get laid in college. Which I’m not sure if Toly Ak has progressed much since then.
I feel somewhat guilty ripping this film a new a*****e such as I did, but I think that with the amount of time that Kouroumalis has been making films, he can do something different and better with the knowledge and resources he has available. Also, I didn’t HATE this movie per-se, it’s just very much not for me. It’s for kids the ages of 18-25 who are just now finding out about Anton Lavey and getting into weird drugs like DMT but also smoke a shitload of weed and cheap cigarettes. I have known many people like this, so it’s how I can say that with authority. So, Toly Ak doesn’t need to worry about what I think, and I’m sure he doesn’t because stuff like this will ALWAYS find an audience out there.
The Rapture (2018) Written and Directed by Apostoly Peter Kouroumalis. Starring Toly AK, Genevieve Beauvais, Vanessa Iafigliola, and Katie Bradner.
3.5 out of 10 stars