This post first appeared on my old blog. I’ve revised it and added new thoughts.
Bo Arne Vibenius as Ron Silberman Jr.
~1 hour 26 minutes 51 seconds
A woman comes home from a shopping trip. She’s attacked and done in with several blows to the skull by an unseen assailant wielding an ashtray.
Cut to an awkward, bespectacled, most likely autistic lover of toy trains who bears what I’d say is at least a passing resemblance to Steve Carell’s character from The Office. He works in a skyscraper, tediously stamping reports, sneering at the girls who deliver paperwork to his desk, muttering “bitch” as they walk away. His name is Billing.
A breaking news report. “An extremely cruel rape-murder was committed yesterday afternoon.” the newscaster states. “[The victim] was raped by a still-unidentified man…” The reporter turns it over to a Dr. Sigmund (like, Freud?), an alleged “expert” on psychiatric matters.
The man weighs in with some top knowledge, “One thing to keep in mind when dealing with deviants like this is never to offer any resistance. Now, a man like this actually wants you to resist, so our advice is to keep calm and let him do whatever he wants to. Even if worst comes to worst, you’ll only get raped. And current statistics indicate that 89% of the respondents, the women who answered the survey, have at one time or another in their lives actually wanted to be raped.”
“So, this man is giving these women just what they want.” the reporter concludes.
“Well, in 89% of the cases, and that’s a clear majority.” The expert clarifies. Then, turning back to the camera, “But that asshole has to stop killing them!”
By now, Billing’s hamster wheel is spinning full-speed. With the newfound knowledge that most women like to be raped, and the one’s who don’t will be going along with it anyway, he’d be stupid not to exploit them sexually!
The next day at work, he steps out to enact phase one of his master plan: raping ‘eryone. He spots a looker in a subway station, follows her all the way to her house, boldly walks in the front door, leads her to a room with a bay window, and politely but authoritatively tells her to undress. Without saying a word, the woman not only removes her clothes, but swoops in to administer an A+ blowjob (part of that 89%, I see). Billing sets her next to a fireplace, bangs her titties and busts a few ropes on her face. Echoey moans, what sounds like backward music and other ambient noises play over the scene. The two bang some more. It goes on like this. The girl finally sends him off with a dexterous handjob. Billing exits the front door with a smug look on his face, breaking the fourth wall as he promenades away.
You sonamagun, you.
Back at work, another newscast. The same reporter from earlier announces that all approved citizens will now be receiving a “requisition card” from the government which they can then redeem for a complimentary sidearm. Billing takes advantage of this development too. He stops at the local munitions store, and after receiving his free gun, is sold additional fragmentation ammo that “explodes inside da guy”. Billing tests these rounds in a wooded area. Sure enough, they explode trees in half.
“I tell you, what we need in this town is that everybody gets this fragmentation ammo and starts cleaning up.” the shopkeeper tells him, unaware that the very person he’s talking to is in need of the most “cleaning up”, via shock treatment, psychotherapy, medication, what have you. We get the impression this Billing creeper is seriously off his rocker, not just a conniving, Machiavellian opportunist with a high sex drive. This suspicion is played up when he flips a radio on and listens to another so-called psychological expert yak away about schizophrenia.
The funny part is that given the film’s title, you’d expect this guy to get broken, mentally or emotionally at some point, in some powerful scene, but he’s already cracked by the time the film starts. To further illustrate how much of a whack-job he is, the main action is interspersed with what I assume are supposed to be daydreams, comprised of even more sexcapades and women who neigh likes horses. During one of these psychedelic reveries, Billing flicks a fly from the tip of his penis with a rubber band, then laughs obnoxiously loudly.
A few scenes later, Billing follows another woman home and demands that she strip and do sex things. She seems like she’s on board as well, but then she stabs him in the shpenis mid-doin’-it with a pair of scissors and peels away in her car. Billing gives chase, ramming the woman off road. She veers into a farmhouse. Her car explodes. She dies. Billing sticks around to watch as a team of firemen hose the inferno — yet, isn’t implicated or even questioned by the authorities. Good work, Swedish police. Ya fucks.
Without repercussion, the dude just keeps on a-raping his way through the Swedish countryside (or having sex, depending on which percent of the population he happens upon). After a while, the women start making the moves. “Would you like to fuck me?” a hitchhiker asks in a robot voice. Boy would he! What strange new vagina will this Billing guy’s misadventures land him in next? What a character.
Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
This “pornografisk thriller” (Swedish for “family comedy”) was directed by Bo Arne Vibenius (better known for the controversial rape-and-revenge classic Thriller: A Cruel Picture, a big inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill) under the pseudonym Ron Silberman Jr., and stars Anton Rothschild (another pseudonym, two-time actor and cinematographer of over forty motion pictures Andreas Bellis). Like Thriller before it, Breaking Point is a hardcore pornographic, wannabe artsy-fartsy exploitation endeavor. This is Vibenius’ third and final directing credit. He worked for a few more years in the film business, however, mainly as a production manager.
That’s not it for the pseudonyms, though. Stunt driving was done by a Turbo Man, emphasis on the Turbo. Special effects work is credited to an Urban Hitler.
These are, in my opinion, the two greatest stage names in the history of the universe. Disappointingly, when you check Mr. Man and Mr. Hitler’s IMDb pages, all they list is this movie. I can’t tell you how deeply that saddens me. For whoever these people were to have used these names once, and only once, is a waste. Stage names like theirs deserve to be backed by illustrious filmographies. I was hoping Turbo Man’s body of work would be more in line with this:
Let’s talk about the music. Breaking Point borrows and makes heavy use of Anton Karas’ zither-tastic theme from The Third Man, a British mystery flick from 1949 starring Orson Welles (I only know this because it was part of my Intro to Film curriculum back in college). The tune, aptly titled “The Third Man Theme”, is endearing in an old-timey way, counterpointing the rape, general misogyny, violence and otherwise disreputable goings-on to an almost cheeky effect. None of the other reviews I’ve read mention the music, so there you go. Have a listen.
Though it sounds like it should be given its subject matter, this isn’t a heavy or especially shocking movie. It’s just not presented that way. The opposite, actually. Its rape is weirdly consensual, and its kills are plain campy. To illustrate, there’s a key scene toward the end where Billing is taken hostage by a group of armed robbers and driven to a secluded location to be executed. The gunman’s rifle jams, giving Billing a chance to command the situation. He pulls his gun out and blows the opposition away. A police helicopter flies overhead, and he fucking shoots it down with an assault rifle, stoically gazes for a moment, allowing the flames from the crash to reflect off his glasses, then jacks a fly whip, and just for good measure, runs a pedestrian off the side of the road while he makes his getaway. It’s so completely over the top that I can’t help but smile and shake my head when I watch it. Without giving too much away, it’s scenes like this that allow the last line of the film to work so well as a punch line. I assume all of you have seen Home Alone. Remember what Macaulay Culkin says at the end? Same deal.
Needless to say, Breaking Point is a lot less accessible than its companion film, Thriller: A Cruel Picture. It’s told from the villain’s point of view, instead of the hero’s. It lingers, and wanders, with no real sense of direction, following Billing documentary-like as he ventures deeper and deeper down a rabbit hole of serial-consensual rape, mass murder, shooting helicopters, road rage, jerking off into coworkers’ cups of coffee (by the way, he does that) and blowing up pine trees.
Billing’s path of destruction looks to be going too far when he posts up at a playground and eyes a young schoolgirl, but nope. All they do is hang out in his car and eat candy. Afterward, Billing drops her off at her house and tells her they can never see each other again. I guess even schizophrenic serial rapist-murderers have their limits. That’s a relief, I guess.
So, what to make of this campy, psychedelic, XXX exploitation flick? Are there any profound bits of commentary buried beneath its cum shots and off-the-wall action sequences? Is it knocking psychiatry? Feminism? The liberal Swedish government? None, or all of these things? Hell if I know. But here’s an idea — maybe director Vibenius was aiming to leave us with less of a statement than a question, like “How far would you go if you knew you could get away with it all?”
I watched this on a — let’s say less-than-reputable — video sharing site, which isn’t something I usually endorse. I’m guessing the copy I saw, dubbed in English with Swedish subtitles, was ripped from a European VHS, but what do I know? Viewing a digitized copy of an old VHS on a 9-inch iPad screen, banner ads flashing “one simple trick for a bigger dick”, is far from this reviewer’s ideal movie-going experience, but it’s probably the only way you’ll be able to find this. Now, is it worth finding? Well, I won’t call it a masterpiece, or even that good, but it’s pretty bizarre viewing. Give it a look if you lean toward the weirder side of the spectrum, and/or you’re curious to see what else the director of Thriller churned out during his (perhaps deservedly) short-lived career.
The actor who played the shopkeeper, Per-Axel Arosenius, committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the Swedish IRS as an act of protest over a monetary dispute.
At least 5.
1 man, 3 or more women.
3 Urban Hitlers out of 5.
I Got My Copy From
Like I said, this movie isn’t available. It’s possible that Vibenius is asking too much for it. There was talk back in 2004 when Synapse put Thriller out that Vibenius tried to illegally resell the film rights on a Swedish message board for a million bucks, err, kronor.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973)
Hollow Man (2000)