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Herringbone short film review

★★★★★

Directed by: #EugenedePlessis

Written by: #BiancaFortin, #EugenedePlessis

Starring: #CortneyPalm, #ChelseaJordan

Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



We wouldn’t put pregnant women through the appalling process dairy farms use, so why does society tolerate it with cows? This is the fundamental idea Herringbone has been built around. And honestly, after watching it, I don’t have a good answer. Herringbone is deeply moving, but more importantly, it reveals the inconvenient truth behind our ever-growing demand for #animal products; even being as bold as to place the blame with the consumer, which it absolutely should. Consumer ignorance and general lack of interest in the source of our #animal products are utterly devastating to #animalwelfare and need to be addressed frankly and openly.


We open as an expectant young mother, Mina (Chelsea Jordan), is being transported in a bus full of other young women. They have been purchased for $460 each, and soon arrive at a compound facility where Mina and the other young women are attacked with cattle prods and herded into small cages. There, Mina befriends the woman in the cage next to her, Rhonda (Cortney Palm), who has lost her mind after being imprisoned and farmed for most of her life. Awaiting her fate, Mina witnesses and is subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of her captors, who milk the young women with machines and casually “put down” any who have “run dry” with bolt guns.


There are shocking scenes right from the off, which only get progressively more disturbing as the film goes on. In places, it’s genuinely hard to watch, and these scenes are underpinned by some terrific acting and heart-breaking character writing. The script is outstanding, and It’s clear both Jordan and Palm have put a lot into this movie: the sense of dread and fear displayed by Jordan’s Mina is palpable, and the unhinged, defeated ramblings of Palm’s Rhonda are brilliantly delivered and almost prophetic in nature.


The striking and #disturbing imagery is brought skilfully to the fore with #EgorPovolotskiy's haunting #cinematography; while its close-up camera angles and muted colours impart a feeling of claustrophobia and despair. The eerie quality of #SergeiStern's soundtrack is also only too happy to oblige in reminding the viewer that this will not be a story with a happy ending.


And it’s quite right that it shouldn’t. As the film is rather blunt in making clear, this sort of thing is happening right now and will continue to do so until we—the consumer—do something about it. It’s a message the filmmaker clearly feels strongly about, and the way Plessis draws parallels between what is happening in his fictional world and what actually occurs in these #herringbone facilities is masterful. But to his credit, it never feels patronising or like it’s being rammed down our throats; it’s a sincere plea for #understanding and #compassion.


Herringbone is a deeply troubling movie; a #horror film based on mass-consumption and industrialised #farming. But I think what makes this movie all the more terrifying is that deep down, we’re all at least a little aware this sort of stuff goes on, and yet, we turn a blind eye to it for the sake of our own convenience. Herringbone is an intelligent and poignant piece of work, and whilst it may not convince you to go full #vegan, it’ll damn well make you re-evaluate just how much you thought you knew about #animalwelfare and the #foodindustry.