Monday, 29 May 2017

Tank Girl (1995)

"I'm gonna need a microscope and tweezers, it's like, uh..."

Don't get me wrong; this is a B-movie, with all that entails, even though it feels strange to be talking about B-movies as late as 1995. But a B-movie can still be awesome, and this splendid feminist cult classic is no exception.

Yes, the budget looks cheap, but that doesn't stop future Doctor Who helmer Rachel Talalay from directing it stylishly and not being unafraid to use bits of comic strip and even cartoon to transition between scenes. I haven't read the original comic book but the film certainly sells it well, much as this post-apocalyptic future of water scarcity and feminist subtext feels very 2000 AD.

Lori Petty is superb as the wittiest, most double-entendre spouting pro-sex feminist hero in all of cinema, and Malcolm McDowell chews scenery as only he can, but Naomi watts is also superb as the initially beaten down Jet Girl who slowly learns how to kick ass in this world of cruel and unimpressive men. The soundtrack, which boasts the likes of Devo, Hole, L7, Portishead and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, is as awesome as they gets, much though it leads me to reflect mournfully on how plugged in I was back in '95 and how these days I'm, well, not.

The film is superb, at its heart a film about real darkness, cruelty, abuse and despair yet rising above it with the power of joyful wit. It has the feminism of Riot Grrl, "bollocks" in an American accent , pimped-up tanks and Iggy Pop as a silly masked mutant. What more can you ask for?

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