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March 29, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Doors (2010)

Review by John Beutler

As the old saying goes, "...what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger"; a very fitting allegory to this tautly produced, albeit powerful and cleverly conceived trite of a psychological drama...from 2010, "Iron Doors". In the onset, the film delves very much into a ho-hum contrived 'Saw' or 'Cube' meld, but as the claustrophobic events further unfolds, this singular character study becomes something more about survival, and the indomitable human spirit, which in this case, become strengthened and determined, despite the resignedly foreseen breakdown of the body.

Axel Wedekind, coming off as sort of meld between Adrian Brody and Elias Koteas, solely and capably carrying the film, and giving a very engrossing performance as an unnamed bewildered man (...vocation: unknown...though, at one point, he does mention 'hazing', possibly implying his belonging to a group prone to 'prankster' group initiation), who wakes up in what appears to be an old and abandoned bank vault...replant with nothing but a large, rusty foot locker (...what's inside??), a flickering neon lamp overhead, and the vault's only other resident, at this point...a decomposing rat carcass.

The character's dialog shifts back and forth, from anguished inner thoughts, to vocal self-contemplation and progressively rage-infused outbursts, trying to explore his options of escape...he stumbles upon clearly planted 'aids'; however, these 'aids' prove to be more akin to tortures, as it seems that just when he becomes elated at the possibilities laid before him, or created by him, they eventually turn out to be false hope and promises, so to speak...further enraging the desperate prisoner...for lack of a better term, 'progress, based upon failure'. Yet, despite these potentially spirit-shattering setbacks, as well as further surprises, tortures and revelations to come, this guy finds it within himself to drive on...bent upon both survival, as well as vengeful anguish, towards whoever put him in this predicament...grabbing onto dear life, an unswerving strength which builds, in contract to his physical being and mental state...which is slowing deteriorating...unhinging, as the result of thirst, hunger...and loneliness.

Intense and captivating in character, it becomes a mute point for the film, as to why this guy is in the precarious situation he is in, or what the eventual outcome is (...which turns out to be quite ambiguous and head-scratching; what was the filmmaker trying to do, with the ending?? Or is this reviewer trying to look too much into things, and not seeing the conclusive simplicity of matters, here??). Reportedly, the film (...three years ago) was originally presented in 3D; I'd be most curious as to how the film presented itself, in that respect. However, despite the visual format, this tight little drama definitely bears checking out, and should not be missed...a very satisfying irresistible cinematic page-turner...

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