Three days ago I mentioned that Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy had chosen The Tribe, a vocally silent Ukranian film about violent thieves and pimps at a boarding school for the deaf, as his #1 2015 film. Intrigued, I asked for an online screener and was graciously sent one by a Drafthouse rep. Reaction: I got through it. Barely. Obviously striking and “different,” but at the end of the day The Tribe is basically a stunt film. And too long. I admired the static camera strategy but half the time I was in the dark about what was actually happening or being “said”. The abortion scene was gruesome and painful, but it strains credibility that the gang is dependent on two (2) girls turning tricks in trucks. Two? And the girls have nothing to say about this? They’re terrorized into compliance and never give a moment’s thought to escaping, informing the staff, going to the cops? Yes, I understand that it’s some kind of reflection of Russian society back in the mid to late ’90s, in the chaotic aftermath that followed the overturn of Communism, etc. But knowing that doesn’t help. Respect for the concept but this is the last all-silent film about psychopathic Ukranian deaf kids that I watch for a while. Yeesh. On the other hand I’m not likely to ever forget it. “Misery porn” indeed. I’m sorry.