A butcher (Titus Muizelaar) with a voracious sexual appetite works with an attractive young apprentice, Roxy (Nellie Benner) who records the goings on around the butchers shop with a handheld, night vision camera. After the butcher is found dead, a police inspector (also played by Titus Muizelaar) comes to investigate the crime.
Meat is a difficult film to categorise and also hard to get a handle on. It doesn’t seem to follow any sort of logical frame. The butchers shop, surely the most dirty butchers shop in all of the Netherlands, seems to exist on its own, in a strange and unfulfilled space. There seems to be some sort of dwelling above it but it’s unclear who it belongs to. It’s also a bit difficult to work out how the characters relate to each other. Some seem to be in relationships but then also don’t seem to be. The butcher spouts sexually explicit things to his apprentice, standing right up against her, almost trapping her, and she seems to not like it but then also kind of likes it. There isn’t any evolution to the characters and their relationships and none of them really make an impression.
The film also doesn’t seem to have much to say or do. The parallels between the slapping noise of sex and the wet slaps of the butchered meat against each other would seem to lend itself to some sort of meaning about using each other for sex, or people just being meat, something which the title of the film would allude to, but the film never really goes for this. The doppelgänger characters could also suggest a point about identity but again the film doesn’t do anything with this quirk. Meat doesn’t have enough sex or nudity to stimulate enough titillation to slot itself into the soft core category either, something which it flirts with but never straps itself to. There are attempts at surreality and with pieces like this sometimes it is enough to let the interesting visuals and tone wash over you like an art work or a visual poem but Meat never has an artistic eye or a visual flair. It does have a weird song about meat though.
Meat is a film that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. As a result it just ends up as boring and unmemorable.
MEAT / CERT: 18 / DIRECTORS: VICTOR NIEUWENHUIJS, MAARTJE SEYFERTH / SCREENPLAY: MAARTJE SEYFERTH / STARRING: TITUS MUIZELAAR, NELLIE BENNER, WILMA BAKKER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW