There is real life with amputation. Then, there is the crazy domain populated by villains and Captain Hooks, legends whose stereotypical simplification make one puke of repetitive boredom - even without a drop of empathy.
And then, there are visual tales.
One recent visual tale was Mad Max Fury Road, where Furiosa - a below elbow amputee - has her handicap become a focus if not the no-verbalized center of visual story telling. And while some internet aficionados try to downplay the fact that Furiosa ultimately is dumped by Mad Max simply because of her hosed arm, the visual imagery leaves little negotiation there, if one looks, if one regards, if one takes in visually, if one embarks on that journey that a visual tale wants to take you on. One can even quantify the disabled body part size in the visuals of the movie in relation to the rest. Ah, yes, I review such movies since a while.
Here we get a piece of great pop culture, totally out there, that also plays in a dystopian world or maybe future. And yet, it resonates entirely differently than just dystopian or otherwise. It could go down as a checklist, bleak and dry.
Arlen is punished by being contained in a large zoned off area. The inmates are called Bad Batch, and numbered by tattoos. As a first thing of the movie, some cannibal type Bad Batch inmates use her as food, and amputate her right arm and lower leg. So Arlen finds herself chained and unable to just run away. Bad shit happens, but there is no crying over spilt milk.
She soils herself, kills the cannibal woman that tries to wash her, and gets off on a skateboard.
A wanderer - played by Jim Carrey - finds her and takes her to a place called "Comfort". Next thing we know, she sits on the village main strip, with a prosthetic leg and watches what happens.
The key sentence delivered here is that one has to figure things out for oneself.
The man tells everybody, and tells Arlen: "If you remember everything else and you forget this one thing, you will... you will have done nothing in your life! (..) This is the one thing, the one thing you must never forget! (...) No one is gonna tell you. You have to figure it out for yourself." - That is a deep truth, that I found was highly relevant for a whole range of situations. Also, and in particular, for reorienting oneself after a difficult health issue, such as, arm amputation.
Meanwhile, in the movie, the cannibalism goes on.
At the "Comfort" village, Arlen ponders what appears to be her predicament.
She does perform a short episode of what could have become "mirror therapy". But only for a short moment. Screw mirrors, there is other things to look at that are so much more interesting.
Next thing we know, she has a revolver.
She takes that revolver for a walk.
She talks to a cannibal woman and then shoots her. In a way she has come to closure with her past after that scene. The kid there, the daughter of Miami Man (see below), follows her to "Comfort".
Back at the "Comfort" village, a party goes into full swing. The daughter of Miami Man is wandering the streets and gets lost. Arlen raves and has hallucinations. She experiences what comes out of leaving normal perception space and entering some other space.
Only to wake up in the desert, where Miami Man finds her and wants her to take him to his daughter.
Turns out the daughter of Miami Man is somewhere inside a harem, so Arlen has to free her.
Arlen tricks her gun into the harem by hiding it inside her prosthetic leg. If only TSA knew.
Then she frees the daughter of Miami Man and leaves the harem .
Outside the harem.
Back with Miami Man. Completing new family. They are now outside that village "Comfort", in the desert. But Arlen is not afraid of exposing herself to the elements, to face the future
In a nutshell, here are the things this movie tells us in its own graphical way:
- bad shit happens, but there is no crying over spilt milk
- one has to figure things out for oneself
- ponder what is your predicament
- screw mirrors, there is other things to look at that are so much more interesting
- come to closure with your past
- normal perception space is great but maybe not always
- make great efforts to find out who, now, is your real family
- exposure to elements is alright, depending on circumstances
In essence, that is what defined my experience on amputee rehabilitation pretty well. While totally CGI, and while taking Quentin Tarantino style to the utmost, this movie's bleak approach to shifting priorities is impressive. The only thing impossible to understand is why they did not have real amputees play the relevant roles.
All images (C) Copyright (yay, I had bought the DVD)