Now On Home Video: THE TREATMENT And RECKLESS From Artsploitation Films
More than a little reminiscent in tone to recent Belgian export Bullhead, Hans Herborts' The Treatment is a gripping thriller that takes the audience on a maniac's trip through hell. The Treatment centers on the hunt for a serial killer and sexual predator who preys upon families with young children as a way to cope with his own inadequacies. The plot is not the engrossing part, however, it is the method behind the madness of both predator and prey that kept my interest.
This film was one of our favorite's from last year's Fantastic Fest line up, and Peter Martin more than adequately expressed his opinion here:
The cast is filled out with solid performances. The story and characters are drawn, adeptly, from a novel by Mo Hayder, adapted for the screen by Carl Joos. What really stands out to me, however, is the tone and atmosphere created by Hans Herbots. The feeling of dread has a cumulative effect that steadily becomes more unnerving.
With 20 years of experience as a director, much of it for television, Herbots has a strong grasp on fundamental storytelling, so it's easy enough to follow the (mostly) straightforward narrative. That frees the mind up to contemplate what's actually happening, to endure the often grueling incidents that are part and parcel of brutality that is far too common in modern society, and to ponder those terrors that we would never wish upon anyone.
A day after watching it, I'm still a bit afraid, frankly, to diagnose any further, exactly, the how and the why. This is a film whose impact has a ripple effect, growing ever wider with the passage of time.
Along with the obvious cultural connection with Bullhead, the film's bleak tone definitely makes this a must see for that film's fans. Not unlike Se7en, or even the mighty The Silence of the Lambs, The Treatment gives us a villain with depth, one with whom we can in now way relate, but can't quite find the strength to look away from his gruesome deeds. Herbots leads his detectives and his audience down a breadcrumb trail of depravity as we are witness to the true evil within the hearts of some men. Definitely a solid recommendation from me.
Like their previous Blu-ray discs, the initial printing of The Treatment came to me on BD-R, though I have been assured by the powers that be at Artsploitation that those are a thing of the past and we can look forward to duplicated, pressed Blu-ray discs. I'm not concerned with the issue, but I know it was a point of interest. The disc looks and sounds spectacular, as any modern film with digital origins should be expected to be in this modern day. No issues whatsoever with the A/V presentation of the Blu-ray.
In terms of extras, we are treated to several deleted scenes with commentary. The commentary does a good job of illuminating the job of the director and editors in determining just why these scenes don't fit. A common practice, but particularly well executed here. In addition there is a puffy piece on the film's premiere in Belgium with lots of pretty decent interviews of the talent involved in front of and behind the camera. Glitzy? Yes, but not altogether without merit.