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By Merle Bertrand | October 11, 1999

I didn’t get this one at all. Near as I could tell, Otto (Max Grimm) is an over wound mob torturer who, unable to extract information from a victim, cracks and gets all medieval on him. After the hacking, sawing, drilling and dismembering is complete, (which, thankfully, we don’t have to watch), two of Otto’s superiors, Edwards (Gio Sangiovanni) and Drake (Edward Saunders), come in and turn the tables on him. Then the cycle repeats itself — Drake snaps, forcing Edwards to eliminate him — until Otto’s decapitated head is trying to talk Edwards out of shooting himself. Huh? If this all seems kinda pointless to you, join the club. Director Grimm adds to the confusion by mixing and matching his camera’s point-of-view seemingly at random. Sometimes the camera is a third party observer to the proceedings. Then it switches to the torture subject’s POV. You’re so distracted by all this jumping around, you don’t have any energy left to figure out what’s going on. Not that you particularly care. It’s only appropriate that a torture motif runs through “The Red and the Black,” because torture is a pretty good description of what it was like watching it.

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