There’s something to be said about adult orientated films in this modern world of family-friendly filmmaking and studio mandated franchise work. While no doubt fun, there has been a move to remove sexuality and films aimed solely at a mature audience from the film slate.
The Offering is the sort of adult-orientated thriller that you seldom see anymore. Writer-director Ventura Durall starts things off enigmatically enough, and slowly reveals the complex sexuality of the film. The mysterious Jan (Alex Brendemuhl) and his wife Rita (Veronica Echegui) plan to entrap psychiatrist Violeta (Anna Alarcon) for something something happened in the past.
Durall takes his time to lay out the characters mixing the present day psycho-sexual drama thriller with flashbacks to how Jan and Violeta met and connected some twenty years previous, it’s an interesting idea and one that slowly reveals things about both characters but at times it does feel like two different films playing at the same time.
Oddly, the present day narrative feels like an Adrian Lyne film, the drama of sexuality, giving in to desire and long dormant feelings for other people and the strain it puts on marriages while the flashbacks looks like late period Terrence Malick, all slow montages with faux deep voice overs.The film isn’t shy about people’s sexual needs or their bodies though it still falls into the age old women are more nude than men, but it does take the sexual desires of women seriously.
The biggest issue with the film is that despite front loading promise of her importance the film actually wastes Echegui. Her performance is brimming the unresolved anger and sexual destruction. When the film has her in scenes, sexual or not, the film comes alive. Echegui has the feel of a film noir femme fatale, offering long lustful looks at people and explosions of anger. It’s a performance that in a better film might court more awards chatter.
However, the film is more interested in this longing for a previous relationship, the toll it’s taken on Jan and on Violeta, which while amiable doesn’t quite build on the promise of an erotic thriller. Despite Durall staging a drunken dinner party that grows in the simmering tension of people’s lust for one another.
Ultimately, what Durall has created is much a meditation on regret that doesn’t shy away from the sexuality of people and the long lasting desires that people have. It’s helped that both Brendemuhl and Alarcon are both performers who capture that sense of longing and regret with the simplest of facial expressions but the film itself can’t quite support the two narratives that seem wildly in contrast with each other. It’s ironically leaves you longing for more.
THE OFFERING IS RELEASED ON 30TH JULY, IN CINEMA AND ON VIRTUAL CINEMAS AND VOD.