Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ms. 45 (1981, Abel Ferrara)

When I think of Abel Ferrara's films, the first word that comes to mind is gritty. From his first film, the Taxi Driver meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre classic Driller Killer to his more well known films featuring such stars as Harvey Keitel and Christopher Walken, they all have a certain feel that just leaves you feeling dirty. Ms. 45, Ferrara's second film, is a perfect example of this.

Ms. 45 is about Thana (Zoe Tamerlis), a mute young woman who works for a clothing designer in NYC. On her way home one day she gets raped, not once but twice!! Talk about shitty luck! She snaps and manages to kill her second rapist who has broken into her apartment. She dismembers him, puts his remains into her fridge and takes his gun (a .45, of course). She then goes out on the street to get vengeance but the point of her killing spree starts to become less defined.

Ms. 45 was an interesting, exploitation film that is also darkly comedic. The extremes Thana goes through to hide evidence to her crimes and keep her identity as the killer a secret is often hilarious. Not that this film doesn't have the look and feel of Ferrara's other, more serious films. It has that dirty city feel that is synonymous with his style and also explores how much a person can take until they snap. In many ways, Ms. 45 is like a companion piece to Driller Killer. They both follow a normal person who slowly starts to go batshit crazy and ends up killing people. The character of Thana actually reminded me a little of Catherine Deneuve in Polanski's Repulsion too, in which they are both quiet, reserved characters who go crazy. Overall, it was an enjoyable film that fits well with Ferrara's classics.



  1. I disagree with your claim that the protagonists of Ms. 45 and Driller Killer are simply "normal people" who go crazy. I think in both cases they are social outcasts who seek acceptance and recognition but ultimately find rejection and lash out. Ms. 45 also incorporates strong themes of patriarchy and social dominance which should not be overlooked.

  2. Seth - You bring up valid points that I completely agree with.