Pathologically Challenged

23 04 2008

“Pathology” 2008.

Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Weston, Alyssa Milano and Lauren Lee Smith

The bad guy wins in the end. I’m hoping that is enough of a spoiler to dissuade you from seeing this gory predictable mess of a psychological thriller.

Actually, to say that the bad guy wins does not really spoil the ending at all. In “Pathology,” every character that turns up onscreen is a twisted and sadistic killer. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But not much of one. Off the top of my head, I can think of two significant characters (with more than just a line or two of dialogue) who do not in the course of the film commit a crime of a depraved nature that brings about a death or human suffering.

“Pathology” apparently has something to say about the human race’s capacity to kill without motive, particularly in the event that there is no risk of being caught for the crime. This preposterous proposal is made early on in the film, by a brilliant twenty-something resident in a medical pathology program in New York City. He and his other classmates, the whole attractive, bullying, under-thirty bunch of them, kill people for no particular reason because they can, and not get caught. Oh yes, and they all have drug problems. And bizarre sexual fetishes that somehow tie into their preoccupation with “extreme homicide,” their sport-of-choice.

One of the main problems with this film is that the protagonist is no hero, and is possibly the most emotionally corrupt of all the characters (and believe me, there are many crazies to choose from). Yet the film wants us to believe that he is. It urges us to understand why he does what he does without a reasonable explanation, and forgive him when he begins to turn himself around out of love for his sweet fiancée. We can’t, because he neither shows remorse for his hideous crimes nor repents for his brazen infidelity. And because we can’t, we don’t care who wins in the end.





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