Fake Blood (2017) – Rob Grant

Whether Canadian film-makers Rob Grant and Mike Kovac movie is fact or fiction isn’t the point of their latest cinematic effort. What is important is the film’s subject matter, and the commentary it makes on film, violence in cinema and the responsibility of the film-makers.

Opening Friday at the Carlton here in Toronto, Fake Blood, after a successful festival run, including Toronto’s own Blood In The Snow invites viewers to examine their film, and see the truth of it even if it is a work of fiction. Or is it?

Rob and Mike have been friends since they were kids, and now are pursuing their cinematic dreams, Rob wants to be a director, Mike an actor, but in the interim, the pair make ends meet by working as an editor, or pursuing bit parts. The pair of made a few horror films, and bloody and violent thrillers, but when they get a fan video mimicking one of the scenes in their films they are chilled and begin to wonder where the artist’s responsibility lies in portraying violence on the screen.

Their journey leads them down dark roads, as they encounter an unsavoury character referred to only as John, who intimates that he was involved in a number of particular violent episodes, including a brutal murder.

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This may be a step too far for both men as the reality of the violent world around them comes home, bringing with it fear and repercussions, moments and feelings that one subject points out are glossed over in film; it’s onto the next scene.

They also discuss the concept of violence and nudity in film, that it’s ok to brutally murder someone on film and get away with a 14A rating, but sexuality is a big no no and you’ll walk away with an R. They take a look at a number of recognisable films and ponder the way they are shot, the levels of violence portrayed, and the results of those actions.

Filled with reenactments which then remind you that you are in a movie, the film plays with reality, but never wavers from its examination from violence and its impact on everyday life.

Do violent films incite violence? One of the subjects in the film has the perfect response to that, which I will attempt to paraphrase. Films don’t incite violence, but they impact the behaviours of those who are already committed to or committing violent acts.

Whether it’s fiction or not, the film is still a documentary in nature, and should generate some discussion on violence and an artist’s responsibility in portraying it.

Fake Blood opens at the Carlton today! Check it out!

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