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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Manodrome (2023)

Okay, show of hands, tonight's double feature will be this and, ooh let's see, Barbie? Any objections? Anyone? Oh. Everyone. Okay.

Manodrome is nothing if not timely, as masculinity (toxic or otherwise) marches like a herd of Lemmings over the cliff of ignominy, never to be seen again, comes a footnote of an era before the world went completely barking mad. Taking with it the latest and most confused and disenchanted generation of men who don't know which way to turn or if they're even allowed to tell their wife (or husband) she/he looks pretty in that dress anymore. Even thinking it would be a crime in some eyes, so saying it, well...

As you would expect, this is divisive in the extreme, portraying a group of men who have reached the end of their tether. The rise of female empowerment in all areas of society can only be a good thing, of course, and the vast majority of the male population understand this, keen to provide equal opportunity.

I don't want to spend too much time on the subject matter here, as I have a habit of rambling on in this regard. Suffice to say, you understand this story, or you don't. You don't need a lesson in misogyny, I'm quite sure.

In the same way the collective assembled here has been lazily described as a 'cult', I attach the same credibility as calling it 'Taxi Driver/Fight Club for the #metoo generation.' Both descriptions are wildly over-exaggerated, but also contain an element of truth.

The performances are fine, but short-sightedly pitched. First you have to buy into the reality, which is a considerable hurdle to overcome and I don't think the film achieves it effectively, possibly spending more time than is necessary on homophobia, hinting at a personal shortcoming, rather than a reluctance to embrace societal change.

Despite its decent direction, it's difficult to enjoy and is exposition-heavy, even in it's relatively short running time, so don't go into it expecting entertainment or answers as both are sadly lacking. This is a character study of a flawed individual searching for his place in a confusing, ever-changing world, not a reliable commentary on the average man and his feelings of helpless confusion at his perceived loss of power and masculinity to women, or anyone else.

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