Directed by Tom Leyendekker.
Starring Trudi Klever, Eelco Smits, Koen Van Kaam, Kuno Bakker, and Vincent van der Valk.
A look at those involved with the 2007 sex parties in Groningen, during which men were assaulted and injected with HIV contaminated blood.
How can pure evil be portrayed, or articulated on screen by a filmmaker? Countless movies and TV shows have tried to show an approximation of a killer or criminal, be they psychopathic or a product their environment or upbringing. Whether we buy into it or not, there’s always something slightly unreal in the production – we’re removed from the evil simply by knowing that we are watching a dramatic render, and not the real thing. With his debut feature, director Tim Leyendekker apparently aims to get closer to that genuine evil; not by showing it, but through rigorous examination after the fact.
This examination comes in the form of tangential interviews, mostly, varying in their proximity to the actual crime being investigated. Without having read the synopsis of the film, it’s not immediately clear exactly what crime that is. Feast is supposedly concerned with the true story of a group of men who, in 2007, were convicted of severe assault, having hosted sex parties where they injected guests with HIV-infected blood. Through attentiveness, this can be inferred quickly, though you may spend the rest of the film wondering what any of the scenes mean in relation to such a disturbing crime.
In the beginning, Leyendekker’s approach is effectively enticing. At least ten minutes are spent listing possessions recovered from the crime scene, in a patient and mostly still scene that manages to exponentially build tension and intrigue. It’s a shame for such a build up to be completely wasted. Through a multitude interview sequences, the fascination in the story seeps away to nothing, because of baffling choices made by the director. Scenes involving the perpetrators are perhaps expected, but they fail to reveal anything that isn’t already a cliché about sexual criminals. The filmmaker’s lean towards philosophy in one scene is perhaps meant to be horrifyingly elegiac, but comes off as thoroughly conceited. In fact, as the piece settles into it’s even structure of vignettes, there’s almost nothing about the film that isn’t irritating.
Leyendekker’s ability as a filmmaker should not be questioned, just his ambition. His work contains interesting ideas, and some of them are excellently conveyed, though these are few and far between. Recurring images of men lying prone in public places are sufficiently haunting, and the director’s focus on his interview subject’s hands highlights a curious theme of accountability. But the director’s self indulgence is the most powerful sentiment at play – as evidenced by an utterly pointless detour into the effect of viruses on plants. And thus ends any hope of an original take on the true crime genre: any true and affecting investigation into the evil that occurred in 2007 won’t be found in Feast. What may be discovered is a director seriously in need of some focus.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★