DVD Review: Invincible Force (2011)
Of all the crude, chauvinistic, immature gestures that little men with undersized penises make, my least favorite is the “suck it” gesture. The gesturer in question will flatten both palms, fingers together, as though about to execute a double karate chop. Instead, with pinkies in and thumbs out, the hands will be slammed against the upper thighs, fingers pointing down, forming a crude triangular framing of the genital area, indicating that the recipient of said gesture “suck it.” Why any man who has graduated from grade school thinks this is a cool thing to do is beyond me. It looks silly, implies ignorance and is about as attractive as watching a baboon fling its excrement. But the gesture itself perfectly sums up what Dan Schniedkraut’s “Invincible Force” is all about: insecurity, testosterone, the fragile male ego and the awesomeness of Finnish death metal.
Drew is nothing special, granted. He’s an average Joe living a nondescript life in Minneapolis, but he has a decent job (office janitor), a good friend in fellow pudge-pal Chris, and a sweet girlfriend named Amber, who doesn’t care that he’s overweight, balding and not rich. She loves him for who he is. Unfortunately, Drew himself doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t particularly love himself. The semi-recent death of his mother and a strained relationship with his father seems to have knocked him for more of a loop than even he cares to admit. Perhaps it was his inability to prevent his mom’s death that has forced him to realize that he has no control over any aspect of his life, and if there’s one thing that insecure males crave more than sex, it’s control.
Drew decides to get with The Program, a rigorous 90 day diet and workout regiment which promises to transform him from flabby manboy to ripped and shredded badass. It’s not an easy transition: it’s tiring, nauseating and just plain hard, but Drew sticks with it. Eventually, when the fat begins to recede and the muscle starts to timidly rise to the surface, Drew’s confidence grows. But with the confidence comes the plague of entitlement. He’s worked hard and is seeing results, therefore he deserves rewards. Confidence becomes arrogance.
He dumps Amber for being too fat. He makes fun of Chris for being chunky. He browses the OKCupid dating profiles like a third generation cattle farmer at a heifer judging contest. He constantly talks about erasing the negative influences from his life, not realizing that he is the biggest and most negative obstacle in his own way. Soon, Drew is speaking in a language as foreign to me as Central Siberian Ket. Muscle mass, protein intake, blahblahblah steroidal juicing stuff, etc. With his friends long gone and his job lost, Drew devotes himself entirely to The Program, descending into a dark, lonely world of madness, sports shakes and fiber bars.
My friend and fellow reviewer Chris Hallock referred – respectfully – to Invincible Force as a “damn ugly” movie. He’s right, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. It IS a damn ugly movie, but it’s also subtly brilliant and weirdly, sickeningly funny. It’s not a movie to be enjoyed by any means. Much like Schniedkraut’s previous film “Seeking Wellness” it is a film to be experienced. It’s a cinematic orbitoclast, slamming into your cerebral cortex and knocking loose the dark matter you never really wanted to acknowledge was there. We’ve all known guys like Drew, have wondered what the hell makes them tick and why they’re such oblivious douchebags. “Invincible Force” strives to answer those questions and does a damn awesome – and ugly – job of it. The truth is never pretty, and if there’s one thing that Schniedkraut does well, it’s the Truth, stripped naked and shoved right in your face. I can honestly say that I will never again take a shit without thinking of this film, and if you’re wondering what the hell that means, I implore you to find out for yourselves.
With an awesome soundtrack featuring Finnish band Maveth (oh goody, a new metal band for me to salivate over! and regardless of what Drew says, girls DO listen to metal!) and a cast of real people, Invincible Force is like walking in on your parents while they’re having BDSM sex. It’s icky and uncomfortable and totally unforgivable and – yeah – damn ugly. It needed to be made, and few people would have dared told it the way Schniedkraut does. It’s ugly for a good reason, which just makes the aftermath all the more beautiful.