Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey, 2014
Directed by Ate de Jong
Starring Edward Akrout, Matt Barber, Megan Maczko, Helen Bradbury
A shocking home invasion irrevocably changes the lives of all involved in ways neither victims nor perpetrator could have imagined.
Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is a different kind of home invasion movie because its not really about violence. It makes you uncomfortable in the early goings and there is always the overhanging threat that something bad will happen, but Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is a movie that isn’t about invading a home, it’s about moving in.
During a night of passionless love making, the home of Tom and Alison is torn in two as a mysterious European man enters their home and ties Tom up in their bathroom, subjecting him to various forms of torture. But while Tom is struggling to stay alive, Alison is forced to be this invaders new wife and she must learn to love, honour and possibly even obey him before the weekend is over.
The beauty of Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is all in its delivery of characters and their relationships. First time writer Mark Rogers keeps the audience on their toes as your alligences and sympathies flip and flop from character to character as more about the marriage of Tom and Alison comes to the forefront. Like many couples around the world, the cozy image of Tom and Alison on the outside is a very different story behind closed doors and as the weekend progresses, this changes not only the dynamics of their relationship but also the intentions of the would-be invader. It’s very subtle in what it does with only a few moments of heavy-handed story additions and is excellently put together movie by Danish director Ate de Jong (who you may remember as the man behind Drop Dead Fred). Even when the story moves into sexual tension, de Jong films it in a way that feels classy and non-exploitative.
With brilliant performances by all three actors, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is a movie that will really draw you into the drama. Edward Akrout has that perfect blend of terrifying, suave and sweet all at the same time and he can turn on the charm just as quickly as he can turn on the fear. Megan Maczko, who plays Alison, gives more to the character than just being a damsel who needs saving from either man in the movie. She could have easily been the simple victim of the movie but Maczko brings more to the table which allows for Matt Barber to really be the movie’s “victim”. As Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey moves into its final act, the performances of Akrout and Barber change with their characters and the former is better than the latter, but Maczko really turns it up and brings fire to Alison.
Sadly the third act of the movie is where Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey falls apart at the seams and begins to unravel. As the weekend comes to an end and all secrets are revealed, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey feels the need to just keep going. What could have been done and concluded in 5-10 minutes – which is all it really needed – is dragged out to the point where it becomes boring. Each passing minute adds nothing new and just when you think all is said and done, it keeps going. It’s a real shame as a tighter final scene would have solidified Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey as a must-watch movie.
Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is worth a watch as it has so many interesting ideas and its a brilliant take on the tired and formalistic home invasion genre. It’s the sort of movie that makes you realise why mundane efforts like White Settlers are so generic and Ate de Jong should be praised for keeping the movie so grounded. There are problems with the third act and the script can be very contrived at times, but Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey is a really good movie.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.