Cross Culture Review of The Pet (2006)
A FEW SPOILERS AHEAD… But I’ll warn you before I give anything away.
Despite the many bad things I heard about the movie, I decided to give it an honest shot.
The film begins with a political statement, via white text on a black screen, about how slavery has been outlawed worldwide since 1948 and yet 28 million people are currently enslaved, more than ever in history. Yet, according to the text, some choose to give up their freedom willingly. An ominous start.
Then, during the opening credits, there is a series of shots, seemingly a montage of one girl’s induction into slavery, including being branded.
Then we hear some men discussing her as they walk to the cage another girl is held in. (A row of cages filled with dogs and then her). This girl is immediately rejected because she is a drug addict.
I’m not going to narrate the whole movie, there are other sites for that. But the introduction of a movie is important to the tone.
I was immediately struck by the poor acting and forced plot. It feels like the creators are attempting to mimic “real” slave relationships without the knowledge or experience to be able to do so. The accent of the male lead is distracting and the female (Mary/GG) has a very shallow range of emotion. The slow-motion eating during their first meal together is bizarre. Their dynamic progresses far too fast, especially since she is oblivious. At one point there is a reference made by someone that she is a natural, that she “fits the profile”, but it doesn’t excuse how fast she gets physically close with him, or her willingness to jump right into limit-free pet-ship without hardly any discussion.
The other thing you will notice is the absence of a sexual element. It’s all about companionship and vulnerability, which I actually appreciated. There are many moments where true joy and contentment shows through. The game of fetch in the snow is one of them.
I chuckled when she mentions having seen the film “The Story of O” and says that she had fantasized about being O. In fact, there are many parallels between O and Mary, but thankfully, they are kept subtle and unobtrusive.
I was disturbed by the fact that he kept offering money to her to convince her to submit to him, but was relieved when she refused it. “It’s not about the money”. Her internal conflict, while not convincing, is interesting to watch. The cage is iconic, but isn’t very practical.
If you are willing to look past the short-comings of the inexperienced director and cinematographers, the film does have it’s upsides. Many of the scenes manage to be hot (for us kink-inclined folk) and, to be honest, the fantasy of a human pet, truly a pet, is appealing to me, if somewhat unrealistic. The makers are successful in drawing subtle comparisons between the consensual human pets and animal pets, while drawing stark contrast to those who had been forced or tricked.
If the movie had been made with a budget, with good actors and tech, it could have been very good. As it is, it’s only ok, but does present some interesting questions and opportunities for discussion. It would have been MILES better if they hadn’t attempted to make a political statement about human trafficking. It doesn’t accomplish anything and only serves to confuse consensual power exchange with the atrocities in the dozen or so countries they list in the ending credits.
WHEN THINGS GET WEIRD (1:10:00) Some slight spoilers from here on…
At about 1 hour 10 min into the film, the lines begin to blur between consensual slavery and human trafficking. Right about now, you see the girl from the opening credits, as well as many others, none of whom have been treated with the care that Mary has. You are also exposed to a seedy underworld of the people the leading man associates with and they eventually attempt to kidnap Mary and sell her on the black market. If you want to watch this movie as an interesting view into the lifestyles of the rich masters and slaves, you should stop here, because after this point, it becomes something very different. The last 15-20 minutes of the film goes completely off plot and off message and, in my opinion, ruins the movie.
An interesting concept, and a few touching moments between a master and a pet.
Sub-par acting, horrible filming and sound, a plot that can’t make up its mind, and some severe distortion about “lifestyle choices”
THE BOTTOM LINE
For those in the community, I would recommend seeing it, but be prepared for it to not be great, and if you don’t want the odd political nonsense, don’t watch the last 15 minutes.
We only get mainstream movies about consensual power exchange every 10 years or so, we have to make the best of what we have and hope for the occasional gem. In the mean time, good discussions about the available works are important, even if the available work isn’t all that good.
–Comments make us happy!