The Sentimental Engine Slayer (2010) / Brother and sister incest
The Sentimental Engine Slayer tells the compelling, confounding tale of the overdue coming of age of a twenty-something misfit named Barlam. Barlam's awkward transition from boy to man is as much the story of struggling to find one's essence in a world of stereotypes as it is an indictment of the distorted reality of family life in the disengaged 21st century. A bottom-rung grocery bagger whose neo-incestuous relationship with his addict sister, Natalia, causes him no small amount of grief and disillusionment, Barlam seeks solace in the convoluted wisdom of what few male peers are available, namely his androgynous, alcoholic boss, Oscar, and the sister's simple-minded boyfriend, Zack. Seeking an explanation as to the strange circumstances of his apparent lack of family structure, as well as the respect from others fundamentally absent in his mundane model-building existence, Barlam is soon led astray amid a seedy underworld of prostitutes, hustlers and addicts. The labyrinthine plot soon begs questioning as to where reality ends and fantasy begins, Barlam shifting effortlessly between hapless punching bag, assertive surrogate father figure, and rage-prone psychopath. Barlam and Natalia are siblings separated by what would seem to be only a few years. The family home, in a sprawling, yucca-studded 1950s-style subdivision on the far end of El Paso, is cluttered with Catholic ephemera and serves as the de facto crash pad for a host of chain-smoking, Guitar Hero-addicted deadbeats. Chief among them is Natalia's bedwetting other half, Zack, a slovenly gringo all too happy to take advantage of the lackadaisical lifestyle afforded by the girl's mysterious addiction and rent-free accommodations. Despite what seems to be something of a preoccupation with their parents' apparent divorce (at least on the part of Barlam), their mother is curiously absent. Barlam, when not on the receiving end of abuse at the hands of his grocery co-workers, spends his time cycling around the city, paying visits to his therapist father (Angel Marcelo Rodriguez Chevrez) to quiz him on details of the ancient divorce (not to mention taking advantage of some presumably off-the-clock advice), and obsessively stock-piling multiples of the only model car for which he has any penchant: the '67 Mercury Cougar which had been the family car during happier times. He soon discovers a look-alike teenager and, convinced that the boy (Rikardo Rodriguez Lopez) must be the product of some unknown indiscretion on his mother's part, coerces his sister into virtually abducting the youngster in order to glean the key to the apparent mystery. As the chaos of his life accelerates, Barlam is pressured into a liaison with an indifferent prostitute (Becky Vigil), the disastrous results of which may or may not spell doom for the deluded pushover. Subsequently, he embarks on a disorienting series of ill-advised trysts, descending into a shadowy murk of unprovoked violence, transgendered experimentation and mirage-like anomaly. Much of The Sentimental Engine Slayer straddles the line between fantasy and reality, as much a puzzle for the viewer to decipher as it seems to be for Barlam. Indeed, his life appears to be a contradictory muddle of fledgling awkwardness and cocksure bar talk; of naïve vulnerability and knee-jerk aggression. When at long last he seems to have found his footing with regards to the intimate relationships he craves, he haphazardly sabotages himself in a literal bloodbath of unresolved hostility, uncorking a lifetime of pent-up rage both shocking and perplexing. It is only as this moment that Barlam's mother finally appears, ostensibly a figment of his imagination, yet doubtless the matriarch of the household whether in her natural state, or that of the mysterious circuitry at the core of the home's electronic brain to which she lends her name. Climaxing with Barlam's moonlight mission to dispose of the fruits of his evident psychosis, the film presents a paradoxical twist perhaps only understood with repeated viewing.
01:36:21 min / 450x360 / mp4 / 363 MB
The Sentimental Engine Slayer (2010).mp4
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