by Del Harvey
A strong and insightul indictment of the effect of violence some men visit upon women…
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Years after she was raped by three men, Chihiro moves away and tries to rebuild her life and nearly succeeds, until one of the three men finds her and the terror starts all over again. Only, this time, Chihiro is a much different person…
Surviving rape should be enough trauma for one lifetime, especially when it’s by not one but three assailants. Having put that horror behind you and started your career and found a new love should be enough challenge for one lifetime. But, in Freeze Me, as in life, it is not. When one of the three men shows up at Chihiro’s after work one day, announcing he’s moving in until one of the attackers is released from jail, she nearly goes out of her mind. After the first attacker rapes her repeatedly, then goes to her workplace and abusing her in front of her coworkers, Chihiro does lose it completely. She kills the young man and, in the tortured aftermath of her realization, decides she must hide the body. She buys a restaurant-sized freezer the puts the body inside, telling herself it’s only temporary. But there are still two more attackers, and a boyfriend who loves her and wants to understand.
Director Takashi Ishii, who made the powerful and impressive Gonin, presents us with a compelling argument for revenge while managing to make a convincing statement of the plight of women in contemporary society. Obviously, the violence some men visit upon others has a profound place in this film, and lead actor Harumi Inoue does a superb job of conveying the effects these men and their vile actions have upon her. We share her torment and anguish, and better understand her actions for what they are. As a victim of random violence, caused by adults who suffered childhoods of neglect and misguidance, Inoue’s actions become completely understandable. And Freeze Me becomes a persuasive condemnation of society’s inability to use precautionary methods in cultivating respect, discretion, and honor among its citizens.
Freeze Me is a dark film with a strong message, but that does not mean you should avoid it. Rather, I enthusiastically recommend it for just these reasons.
Del Harvey is a writer and the founder of Film Monthly, is a devout Chicago Bears fan, loves Grant Park in any season, and recently taught screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.
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