-$12 ticket on a scale of $0 to $12. They should pay the audience for watching this crap.
“Taxidermia,” an art-house import from Hungary, stands out as the most revolting, disgusting, vile, offensive, and nauseating piece of cinematic dreck your critic has ever reviewed. Audiences without severe mental disturbance will have to be either blindfolded and kidnapped or bribed to watch it. (Note to editor who asked for this: If you ever send me to anything half as bad as this, I shall never write another word for you.)
“Taxidermia” also brings up a problem with film marketing. In their attempt to explain pic to critics, flacks laid bare its incomprehensibility. A crucial plot point explained in press notes is utterly missing from the print. And helmer/writer Gyorgy Palfi’s product fails to convey the motivations ascribed to principal players. Auds are left wondering what the heck is going on.
Pic, divided into three acts, purports to chronicle three generations of Hungarian men in the same family – grandfather, father, and son. Here’s what happens, so far as your critic could deduce: Act One: Set in some desolate Second World War outpost, an orderly in Hungary’s Fascist army spends his off duty time playing with himself. Despite having a fairly impressive male organ which shoots fire a few feet high and sperm into the stratosphere while spending much of its screentime hard, he does not manage to score with a woman. His lieutenant summarily executes him after catching him making love to the carved up carcass of a pig. It turns out, although one can know this only from reading press notes, that said orderly has fathered a son, who is born with a tail, cut off by lieutenant with a wire cutter.
Act Two: Said son is ushered by a woman supposed to be his mother (but it’s her first appearance in pic so auds are clueless) to a competitive eating camp for boys. Kid is a champ. Fast forward 20 years to the height of Hungary’s Socialist era. Kid is now a world class competitive eater. He and colleagues puke a lot. It’s nauseatingly real. Your critic wanted to vomit watching it. Eventually he marries another competitive eater, who cuckolds him on their wedding day, and they produce the thin kid, star of act three.
Act Three: Thin kid has grown up to be a taxidermist. He spends his off hours cleaning up after dad, who has grown too huge to get up from his chair, and dad’s champion fat cats, who live in a cage and snarl a lot. Couldn’t capitalism have brought Jenny Craig to Hungary? Dad really needs to drop a few pounds. The taxidermist is a tad weird, however. A doctor shows up with an aborted fetus which he wants made into a key chain. Taxidermist complies. Go figure.
When the good doctor arrives at shop to pick up said key ring, taxidermist has had a falling out with dad, left cats’ cage open, returned to find dad disemboweled by hungry cat, stuffs dad like a trophy, and then kills himself by removing his own organs and stuffing his own body. For good measure, he has his head and right arm lopped off by a machine. The good doctor discovers said squalor in basement of taxidermist’s shop. The rest is history, although none of it makes sense. Maybe it’s the Hungarian dialogue subtitled in English.
Tech credits are adequate. Continuity sucks. Editing, direction, and writing are disastrous. Acting could be judged if there were a comprehensible screenplay. Pic is not rated, but auds should avoid it due to the possibility of nausea and nightmare.
—30—Taxidermia on Netflix