Saturday, 17 October 2015


A vivid and frequently very distressing drama with a social conscience that only expands in its breadth and intensifies in its purpose as its depravity deepens. Madonna is conscience through controversy, and is controversial in this regard alone - Shin Su Won skirts the boundaries of utter nihilism in her depiction of a life of innocence brought down by the cruelty and literal carelessness of society, and builds her bitter tirade upon this outlook. Some will undoubtedly take deep offence at her treatment of women, and with equal legitimacy to those who regard Madonna as a desperate, almost defeatist but defiant statement of gender equality, even superiority. Women fill the cast of this startling film, subservient throughout but subtly insistent on wrestling some control from societal situations that punish them by mere virtue of existing as women. Everyone scrapes for what comfort or happiness they can achieve in this overtly pulpy film, and Shin portrays her women as rigging a rigged game in their own favour, even if it means showing some small degree of care and concern under a masculine mandate of discovery, or soliciting a blow-job in the place of full, non-consensual intercourse. Care and consent are central to this otherwise brutal story, being the admission the lack thereof, drained by cultural constructs that dismiss the basic needs of the most vulnerable citizens. Madonna is a more keenly-constructed thing, more so than its stuttering opening and overlong ending suggest. It's founded on an intense, right but not righteous anger, one that only becomes fully formed the more that the viewer is encouraged to engage with it.