Movie Review: 2001 CUFF: Coil
Coil is a difficult film to review. Like Wormwood, it’s a fictional feature by a first-time director, Jesse Heffring, with a one-note mentality. But that one note is pretty interesting, so despite some structural problems I had with the movie, it’s still a pretty intriguing flick.
The film has an interesting conceit — it’s shot as though everything was filmed on security, TV news and home video cameras. But this shooting style is more than a mere gimmick; it’s cleverly essential to the plot.
A woman, a TV news reporter named Morgan Bianco, goes to a birthday party for a co-worker in a nightclub, then on her way home she stops by the Laundromat that she had dumped her clothes off in earlier in the evening. Unbeknown to her, a guy from the club has followed her back to the empty Laundromat, where he then savagely rapes her in one of the dryers.
Even though the rape was caught on a security camera, the criminal case still comes down to a matter of a “he said, she said” argument. The rapist insists the sex was consensual and that he was merely fulfilling Morgan’s rape fantasies that she divulged to him at the club.
I have to give Jesse major credit for pulling this scenario off and the issues surrounding the rape are entirely believable. The film did lose me a little when Morgan becomes a “media terrorist,” committing horrible anonymous crimes and then reporting on them. I thought this was asking me to make a leap of faith too big than I could handle.
This was a problem, I believe, on the script level and not at all due to the performance of Barbara Kozicki who played Morgan. Kozicki was extremely good in a tough role. I just would have liked to have seen more about the characters and their lives beyond the rape. I think that would have given the film more resonance for me.
But despite my issues with Coil, it is the film of the fest that I found myself talking and thinking about the most. (Well, other than the film that I’m somewhat involved in personally – see next review.) It’s a good discussion/instigator and there was quite a lively Q&A session with Jesse and producer J.J. Heffring at the end of the screening.
At the Q&A session, the first question was asked of Jesse: “How well did you know Morgan Bianco?” A person in the audience thought that the film she had just watched was a documentary! I’m not telling this to make fun of this befuddled audience member, but to show that while I wasn’t totally convinced by the action on-screen, somebody else sure was!