Interview: Uwe Boll

Interview

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In 2009 something funny happened; Uwe Boll made a movie people really enjoyed.  Of course, this was not the first great movie by Boll and certainly not the last; but most of his detractors swallowed their bias and everybody was pretty much in agreement that Rampage was a good movie.  Last year, the sequel – Capital Punishment – was released to positive reviews once again.  It took the form of a heist movie and expanded on the motivations of Bill Williamson, the trigger happy anti-hero raging against the machine.  So far, the Rampage series has been a mean spirited, fun-filled thrill ride, with a main character who represents a cynical perception of our society.  With a part 3 in the works that promises to be an explosive finale to a great series, I had an opportunity to interview Uwe about the series so far, what inspires it and how we can contribute.

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1) Hi Uwe, thank you for the interviewer. I’m a big fan of your work, especially the Rampage movies, which I feel are very bold and brilliant, yet super fun. The prospect of a third instalment is exciting to me personally, as I’m sure it is for many others. What can we expect from Rampage 3: No Mercy?

He will go to Washington and rip it apart.

2) When it comes to politically driven movies, few are as bold and radical as Rampage & Capital Punishment. But you have other movies that deal with similar subject matter – like Auschwitz, Heart of America, Darfur, Assault On Wall Street and Stoic. What is it about these types of uncompromising movies that appeals to you?

I love movies like Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Salvador, Wall Street and that kind of movies are not getting made anymore …..gritty , realistic , reflecting the world we are living in. I try my best to make movies in that tradition

3) In the Rampage series, the audience is forced to buckle up and go along for the ride in a situation they might not be comfortable with, but at the same time, it’s a fun ride. Bill Williamson is such a conflicting character; on one hand he kills a lot of innocent people, but he has a lot of viewpoints we can agree with. Was it your intention to create a homicidal maniac the viewer could root for?

You nailed it ….. ….

4) With this series, as well as the movies I previously mentioned, do you hope to inspire radical change or just give audiences an alternative to the standard cookie cutter they’re used to seeing?

Yes….the problem is that we have art movies I dont care about and we have big blockbusters I dont care about ….my movies are radical about very important subject matters — and I try to make the movies to change people opinions about situations they are going on —— as an example the president of Sudan, the mass murderer Bashir …is still in power , even if there is an arrest warrant on his head … I show the massacres in Attack on Darfur — and WHY we dont take this asshole out with a drone ?

5) No Mercy is being funded through a crowd funding Kickstarter campaign. Just how difficult is it in this day and age to get financing for a movie?

It is very hard …if you dont have a tv show or a 200 millon franchise nobody cares about you if you don’t have oscar winning actors attached

6) Lastly, do you have any upcoming or future projects in the pipeline you’d like to tell us about?

Maybe a western in August: Stagecoach with Luke Perry and Jason Priestly

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If you’d like to find out more information about Rampage 3: No Mercy or make a donation, head on over to the Kickstarter page and find out how you can be a part of it.  The perks are very enticing.

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Movie Review: Stoic (2009)

Crime, drama, Movie Reviews

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Any time a reviewer goes to post their thoughts on a good Uwe Boll movie, they feel the need to address his previous critically panned movies that gave him the reputation as one of the worst directors ever.  Unfortunately, this will always be a stigma attached to his name, due to the thousands upon thousands of film fans who dislike him on a personal level and are quick to bash his work before they’ve even given it a chance to prove them wrong.  However, Uwe Boll is not a bad filmmaker; although he’ll never get the credit he deserves for his intelligence and talent, he’s a director who has made mostly good features throughout career, with only a few duds that have overshadowed them to earn him his the undeserved reputation of that of a hack.  But those duds tend to still be entertaining.

That being said, if Uwe’s movies were judged on the merit of each film alone, most of them would still divide opinion due to uncompromising execution of controversial subject matter.  Take a movie like Auschwitz (2011), which was both praised and reviled for its unrelenting portrayal of Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust; or Attack on Darfur (2009) and 1968 Tunnel Rats (2008) for their cruel realistic depictions of war.  Back in 2002, Heart of America bravely explored the subject of high school shootings with delicacy, honesty and grace to create a thought provoking, harrowing piece of brilliant filmmaking.  Critics have been kinder to Rampage (2009) and its sequel Capital Punishment (2014) with its radical socio-political themes and mean spirited, darkly humorous, violent content, but it does have its detractors.  Assault On Wall Street (2013) is another controversial feature which further proves Boll is a capable director; albeit one who isn’t out to please everybody, instead choosing to make statements about the state of the world.  My point is: Boll is a talented filmmaker, but some of his movies are so bleak, nihilistic, honest, and at times – vicious, that they would never appeal to a mass audience.  That’s a logical reason to dislike his movies; not the false assumption that they’re incompetent trash.  This is the only time I’ll address Uwe’s negative reputation, because I feel he’s more than paid his dues.

Stoic falls into the category of impressive, but polarizing; based on the true story of an event which happened in a German prison in 2006, where 3 inmates tortured their cellmate and forced him to hang himself, this a movie which addresses prison brutality in such an honest way it’s unsettling to sit through and disturbing to watch.  The film begins with 4 young prisoners – Harry (Edward Furlong), Mitch (Shaun Sipos), Peter (Sam Levinson) and Jack (Steffen Mennekes) – as they play poker and share fun stories.  Mitch then makes a bet where he’ll eat toothpaste if he loses the next hand; unfortunately for him that’s just what happens.  Afterwards, he tries to back out of the bet, which angers his 3 cellmates.  First they force him to eat the toothpaste, then things gradually grow worse until they spiral out of control.

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If you’re going in to Stoic expecting entertainment then you’ll find it sorely lacking; there is no safety blanket to protect us from the horrible acts as they transpire.  If you choose to stick around, Stoic will punish you without mercy.  It’s a cruel picture with believable performances from the actors, all of whom play characters whose only characteristics are loathsome or tragic.  Furthermore, it’s not a pleasant film to look at, with its dimly lit rooms and dungeon-esque cinematography, it gives off a sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness.  Here we are, watching the events leading up to a forced suicide we know is coming, endurance our only ally.

Stoic is not an enjoyable movie, but it’s a powerful one that will reward you if you can see it through.  It’s cinematic cruelty where each atrocity will make you want to turn away from the screen.  Horror films have become so disposable that violence is just as throwaway and forgettable – at times even ”fun.”  Stoic’s violence isn’t explicit, but it’s so psychologically hard hitting that you’ll feel sorry for the victim and despise his tormentors. Coming from a guy who didn’t react to August Underground and found A Serbian Film funny at times, take that for what it’s worth.  9/10

Written & Directed By: 

Uwe Boll

Starring:

Edward Furlong, Shaun Sipos, Sam Levinson, Steffen Mennekes

Genre:

Drama, Crime

Running Time:

91 mins