Fantasia Festival 2017 Review: SPOOR

The Hunters Become The Hunted In Stylish Dark Polish Thriller SPOOR

 Fantasia Film Festival 2017 Review:SPOOR

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Janina Duszejko is a part-time English teacher who lives alone with her two dogs on the outskirts of a small village in Southern Poland. She is hugely popular among her young students but seen as an annoyance by the locals and authorities because of her stance on hunting.

In her village, everyone hunts, and the killing never stops. Each month, there is a different animal to be hunted or culled. In school, Ms Duszejko even tries to teach the kids something different but unfortunately, it’s a tradition drilled into them since birth. Even the church, including the horrible local priest, believes it’s the word of God to hunt and kill defenceless animals. The church sermons are basically a place where the whole village gets together and sings hymns about killing animals.

The bloodshed has almost sent her over the edge.

A small cemetery lays in her garden where she has buried the animals she lost throughout the years at the hands of hunters or illegal poachers.

When her two beloved dogs go missing she sets out to prove that they were victims of illegal poaching. No one will listen to her, she has reported illegal hunting to the authorities for years, but they never respond.

Then death hits her village.

The locals are shocked by a number of villagers turning up dead in mysterious circumstances. Ms Duszejko knows who is doing the killing but no one will take her seriously.

SPOOR is a crime thriller with a separate storyline about the pointlessness of killing and hunting animals. It also has side-plot about the local crime boss who has the village living in fear. All of these stories blend perfectly together, with genres changing throughout the film.

As an animal lover, it’s a heavy watch but I also feel that has a strong message.  It’s told in a beautiful, passionate way with such a heartfelt performance from lead actress Agnieszka Mandat-GrabkaSpoor review Fantasia Festival 2017

It’s the humans who are the monsters in SPOOR.

With recent releases such as Bong Joon-ho’s brilliant, OKJA, we got an insight into the horrors of the meat industry. Okja really had an effect on me, even though those damn Super-Pigs weren’t real. I think SPOOR hit harder, it definitely had more of an impact on me.

This maybe the only film that I’ve seen that I felt absolutely no remorse for any the victims. They’re horrible human beings who mistreat and keep animals caged to the point of starvation.

Spoor isn’t very graphic but at times it can be unsettling.

This is a beautiful film, a passion project about one woman’s endless fight against local hunters/poachers. It can be a hard watch at times but impossible to look away as the acting and storytelling is just so powerful.

Based on the novel DRIVE YOUR PLOUGH OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, Spoor impresses on every level.

GARY GAMBLE

10/10

 

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