Aidan (Rob Sulaver) receives a mysterious black box filled with a DVD. He plays said DVD only to see footage of his girlfriend, Madison (Mackenzie Christine Hawkins), tied up and tortured before being set on fire. Aidan reacts as only anyone else would,
he calls the cops he intensely works out at the gym. Which is when the film decides to move away from the sudden death of his significant other, and instead focus on some relationship back story.
While Let It Bleed manages to work in some existential ambiguity regarding events, it doesn’t quite work. Basically, the film strains believability far too much, even if it does leave itself a bit of an out with the ending; if you interpret the ending one way, all other actions that come before it seem to make a bit more sense, but just barely.
For example, again, the response to the DVD makes little sense. Then there’s the sequence where Aidan, suddenly given the opportunity to meet his tormentor, sprints from his apartment with a huge kitchen knife in hand; how he manages to make it that far running through New York City in broad daylight with a knife without anyone thinking that something is up is beyond me. Maybe it’s just New York, but the second he passes a family with a kid, someone would likely say something to a cop. Right?
On the aesthetic side, the film doesn’t look all that great. Most of the footage seems to be needing a bit more light, and the sound mix is equally erratic. Sometimes it sounds like everyone talking is perfectly mic’ed, other times it seems like the mic is just too far away. And throughout almost all of it is a music bed made up of other films’ scores or pop songs that, in all honesty, would likely cost more in film rights for one snippet than what went into the budget for the rest of the film.
And the film relies far too heavily on said music scores and cues from other, better, films. When you’re listening to music from The Dark Knight while watching a torture video where the person off-camera appears to be doing his best Joker impression from The Dark Knight, it not only hits too close to home, it makes you think about how much better that film is than this one. The sudden comparison does Let It Bleed no favors, and it doesn’t get any better as the same cues and music beats repeat.
Maybe this is a film about distrust in a relationship being a form of murder unto itself, only expressed externally. Maybe it’s all in Aidan’s head. I’m willing to give the filmmaker credit for drumming up enough ambiguity to allow me to not dismiss it all outright. That said, if it is the more existential interpretation, then it still could’ve relied on more believable scenarios and actions to set up its payoff. If you spend the majority of the time going, “eh, I don’t buy it,” as I did, then it never quite comes around.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.