Title: Bread and Circus

Also known as:
Slakta dem alla!

Year: 2003

Genre: Horror / Comedy / Arthouse / Splatter

Language: Norwegian, English

Runtime: 75 min

Director: Martin Loke

Writer: Martin Loke

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377543/

After being born from Mother Earth, a nameless man is processed through the system and forced to conform to society standards. Understanding that there is more to life than what you are told, the man sets out to put an end to the tyranny from the regime.

Our thoughts:
"Bread and Circus" is what you get when an impressionable young lad is subjugated to years of psychological abuse from people like Peter Jackson, with his movies "Bad Taste" and"Braindead". This young man grows up with his own filmmaking ideals but then becomes confused and distorted about what to make due to the repugnant films that dare to serve as influence from his lost youth. Filmmakers should be ashamed!

Actually, the reality is that I'm not sure who influenced director Martin Loke. "Bread and Circus" is one of those films that is all over the place; it feature arthouse ideals, social satire, splatter tendencies and unapologetic crude humor. I can't tell you what the movie is about because that is a whole other beast that has to be tackled on its own.

Instead, what happens in "Bread and Circus" is an a young-adult male is born from earth's vagina, where a group of monks promptly take the man, clean him up, program him, stick him in a business suit, handcuff a briefcase filled with blank papers to his wrist and then send him on his way. Not sure how or why, but the man does this task assigned to him anyway and follows the path dictated to him. That is until an unknown elderly man intervenes and tells tales about those who defy the system and don't do as their told. This causes the young man to do the same and as he sets out on his own path…earth's anal cavity. Along his journey he comes across crazed soldiers, nazi-esque officers, cannibals, explosions, gun fights, lesbians and absolute insanity.

So much goes on in this one little Norwegian movie that it's hard to talk about any of it without going into great length and detail, because it is hard to explain and have it make sense. Yet, some how, the movie manages to make most things work. Or rather, the weird and randomness of everything that occurs, works in the universe of "Bread and Circus". And it's not some pretentious bullshit of, "I actually understood every aspect of the movie because I'm all deep 'n shit." It's more because you get into an acceptance frame of mind when you watch the movie.

Oh, an alien spaceship that's packing a missile sized human penis is fucking the earth. Eh, fuck it, might as well since I just watched a guy get kicked in the ass so hard his anus started bleeding, so he stuck a beer bottle up his ass to stop the blood flow.

It is important to get into this mindset because, while the weirdness works for "Bread and Circus", it is still kind of a jumbled mess of different styles. The movie can't make up it's mind as to what it wants to be. It wants to be fun and campy, so you get things like beer bottle butt plugs and exploding heads via shotgun. Then it wants to be kind of an abstract-surreal arthouse movie with social commentary, and that's where the problem comes in. The movie is in a constant tug-of-war with itself because it doesn't want to be too serious but it doesn't want to be too stupid either. As a result, "Bread and Circus" tends to float from one style to the next and never finding that middle ground that it needed.

I'll give Martin and his movie some credit because there was an idea behind the random insanity that occurs. What that is exactly, I'm not sure. Given that the title of the movie is "Bread and Circus", having a king and queen in the movie, showing people being born then promptly being set on a specific path in life and soldiers tracking down and killing anyone who detours from this. Says to me that the movie is indeed about anarchy -- self identity, breaking away from "the system" and all that jazz. Which could explain why the movie is as non-traditional as it is -- playing the social commentary in a ridiculous manner with goofy-gory shenanigans. But is that what the movie is actually about? I don't know. I could be severely over analyzing it or I could be drastically underselling it. Sure, I could have watched the movie with the director's commentary track on and watched the interview with Martin Loke at the end to find clarity on what the movie is. But if you have to have the director tell you what the movie is about then what's the point? It's even more pointless if you are writing a review and all you're doing is repeating what you've been told by the director themselves -- might as well just cut out the middle man and post what the director said and save everyone some time.

But I digress, "Bread and Circus" is a fun movie to watch regardless of what it's meant to be. It's a flawed movie because it becomes a bit muddled from trying to be so many different styles. It's campy-nuttiness wrapped in a fan's love letter to all the different movies and genres they grew up watching. It's really not much more than just another odd-ball low-budget backyard movie except Martin had a bit more money to spend. Obviously since the movie was shot on film and had better production values than most other movies of a similar nature.

Positive things:
- Very silly but still fun.
- There was some thought that was actually put into it.
- Some good effects.
- A backyard movie that manages to have car explosions? Nice.
- While flawed, it was still well made for a first time feature.
Negative things:
- Gets a bit too random at times.
- Not very coherent.
- Feels like it drags at times.

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 2/5
Story: 2.5/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2/5

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