Equal parts noir and early David Lynch, the notorious art-house flick, Singapore Sling, finally comes to DVD courtesy of Synapse Films, and, to be honest, I really don’t know how to feel about that.
I’m still sort of numb from the experience.
A mother and daughter (a fact that’s debatable since they look to be about the same age, bear no resemblance to one another, and seem to be from different countries) hole up in an isolated manse, where they play strange games of one-upmanship, eat like pigs, and…oh yeah, murder and disembowel their servants. They also frequently engage in lesbian acts, smear fruit on their genitalia, and talk to the camera, filling the viewer in on some things while raising a whole lot of questions about others.
When we first meet the mother and daughter, they are disposing of the body of their latest victim during a wicked rainstorm. While the two women play in the mud, a wounded man slips into the back of their car, and hitches a ride back to their house.
The daughter discovers him first, and, in his wounded state, he is hardly able to fend off her sexual advances. The daughter, who tends to ramble incoherently, tells him that he must masquerade as one of the new servants or face the wrath of her mother.
After she tells him this, she vomits on his face.
When the mother discovers the man – who the daughter has dubbed Singapore Sling – she also molests him, with her daughter looking on.
And then she urinates on his face.
After that, I stopped trying to make any sense out of Singapore Sling. From what I gather, the title character is there to find a woman named Laura, who was last seen in the mother and daughter’s employ. Through his noir-style narration I got the impression that he was a detective who had fallen in love with this woman while searching for her, but I may be wrong. The mother and daughter often reenact their encounter with Laura, so the daughter decides to dress up and pretend she is Laura for Singapore Sling, as well, which lends even more confusion.
And then she masturbates with rancid fruit.
Art is a crazy thing.
What’s even crazier is that this is one of the best looking noir-style films I’ve seen. It’s as if director Nikos Nikolaidis were channeling Touch of Evil-era Orson Welles with his wonderful use of shadow and architecture, and the high contrast black and white, in a sick way, mirrors the schizophrenic nature of the film, itself. It’s a vivid and beautiful picture of awful and ugly things.
Synapse presents Singapore Sling in a solid anamorphic transfer (1.66:1) that features a few artifacts, flies, and jumps, but I only really noticed them toward the end of the film, for some reason. Maybe they were just as befuddled as I was by the time they got that far into the movie. There’s also a theatrical trailer and photo gallery. There aren’t any other extras, but I think that’s for the best.
Singapore Sling, like a lot of “art”, is a very subjective thing. I’ve read reviews in which people think this is an absolutely brilliant film, while others discount it as outright garbage. I’m sort of on the fence with it. I mean, this is a really breathtaking visual feast at times, yet, other times, I wanted to throw up.
But not on anyone’s face.