CLOSET LAND (1991)
||Swearing, semi-nudity, implied
violence, disturbing content
Category: Psychological Thriller
The Plot: A children's bookwriter (Madeleine Stowe) has
been abducted and subjected to torture by a nameless interrogator
(Alan Rickman). She strongly protests her innocence as the interrogator
tries to get her to admit to conveying political messages in her
books which are in collusion with conspirators trying to bring
the government down.
Comment: This film was made in response to a comment in
a report made by Amnesty International in 1990, that over the
the world's countries still torture their own citizens. Needless
to say, this is an uncomfortable and unpleasant film to watch
as Stowe is tortured in an attempt to make her confess to something
she clearly isn't. It ultimately becomes a test of wills between
torturer's desire to break the victim and get her to admit to
her underlying political intent, and the victim's strength of
her convictions that she is innocent and will not confess to something
she is not. The stark but modern room where the interrogations
take place all adds to the evil atmosphere (although one imagines
a true 'torture chamber' would be less artistic...).
Alan Rickman is truly disturbing as the nameless interrogator.
Despite the films dark content, this is obviously the type of
role Rickman can excel in. For his victim, he is not one person,
but three, and he plays all three against eachother with menacing
intent. He slips effortlessly from one character to the next (watch
for the scene 50 minutes into the film where he blindfolds Stowe
and plays both a victim and torturer himself! Magnificent!), playing
not only for the benefit of the victim but us, the unseen audience
whose hearts go out to the victim as she is terrorized first psychologically
and then physically...
The victim is played with conviction by Madeleine Stowe. No matter
what horrors are inflicted upon her by her interrogator, she quietly
exhibits the strength to hang on to her belief in her innocence.
As the interrogation continues, Stowe stoically delivers dignified
strength and vulnerability as more and more of her identity is
stripped away from her character. It is a fascinating thing to
Not for the faint hearted is Closet Land; the psychological terror
will no doubt affect some viewers of this film. Whether the situation
is true or not, Closet Land is an interesting and disturbing drama.
But, it you want the same scenario jazzed up 10 years later, with
us against the nameless "They,' then I recommend the film,
Cube, over this one...