One of the most controversial movies to come out of the Toronto International Film Festival is transgender horror ‘(re)Assignment’ which has been mauled critically.
Yet its cast that includes well-known Hollywood stars Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez have defended the movie, despite it being slammed after it premiered at TIFF earlier this month.
The film is about a male assassin (played by Rodriguez) named Frank Kitchen who, after killing the brother of a talented surgeon known as The Doctor (Weaver), is surgically transformed into a woman after being double-crossed by gangsters. It all sounds a bit absurd and potentially offensive, with the trans community voicing their disappointment in using the life-changing operation as a gimmick for a film.
Some people on Twitter deemed the film transphobic, but director Walter Hill (’The Warriors’) didn’t know why some corners were blasting the movie, according to the Mail Online.
“I don’t know why this one stirred up such interest in a way that those didn’t, except that I think the transgender situation has been more in the headlines the last couple of years.”
And to be fair, other films have tackled similar themes in recent years, such as Pedro Almodovar with ‘The Skin I Live In’, which sees Antonio Banderas, a skilled surgeon, imprison and transform a young man as revenge for raping his daughter.
Instead Hill went on to comment on the positive feedback he’d receive, despite reviewers slating it as one the year’s worst.
‘I don’t know. I’m a storyteller, it’s a crime story, it’s a noir vision, it’s comic book in a way and quite a few women have said to me that after seeing the movie, they feel empowered by it.’
Michell Rodriguez also defended the film: “Are they mad that somebody decided to take their branded transgender operation and use it on heterosexual people?” Rodriguez, who has appeared in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise, noted how she herself was part of the LGBT community and that her playing the role was somewhat justified.
“I’m bisexual. I do guys. I do girls. You can’t really argue with me because I’m you. So if I do a movie, I’d never do a movie with the intention of offending anybody in the LGBT community because I’m a part of it.”
Nit everyone will agree with her comments - simply being part of the LGBT community doesn’t give you free reign and prevent your actions from offending or not.
And Weaver’s comments were equally as defensive of the project. The ‘Alien’ icon was convinced that “certainly no-one is demeaned or denigrated’, following that up with: 'It’s not a Disney movie. It is noir.’
It’s certainly not a Disney movie, we’ll give you that one, Sigourney!
‘(re)Assignment’ is in US cinemas in 2017, with no confirmed date for the UK.
Picture credit: SBS Films