Donkey Punch Oliver Blackburn

Donkey Punch Oliver Blackburn
Seagoing thriller Donkey Punch introduces us to Lisa, Tammi and Kim as they embark, as comely lassies from the north of England will, on giddy summer hols off the coast of Spain. In the time it takes them to skull back a few goblets of champers, they've hooked up with four similarly motivated, slightly more posh, British lads with access to a luxury yacht, and plunked themselves down, amidst eerie Dead Calm-ish presentiments, in an isolated spot in the middle of the Mediterranean. Quicker than you can say, "every parent's nightmare," E is dropped, rock smoked, bikinis doffed, camera phone fired up (if it's not posted online, did it really happen?) and all is tickety-boo in randy wish-fulfilment land until the youngest of our boys is goaded into delivering the titular stroke — file it beside Dirty Sanchez, Cleveland Steamer and the rest under "oft-googled, seldom-practiced bedroom stratagems" — with disastrously buzz-killing consequences. The movie is at its observant best in chronicling how true personalities are revealed, and pecking orders reshuffled, as the panicky and suddenly mistrustful characters try to sort out their conflicting agendas and best position themselves for the police inquiry that surely awaits them on land. But here, at the point where events start to go violently sideways, Donkey Punch loses its bearings. The power of the best of the good-thing-gone-bad school — Shallow Grave, say, or A Simple Plan — lies in the pitiless logic with which the most innocuous initial misstep leads inexorably to ruination. But with Donkey Punch, the snowballing of bad decisions and dead bodies seems powered not by inevitability but by stupidity, even goofiness. One poor sod is actually dispatched via chainsaw, which, even if workable as some sort of fan-boy genre shout-out, will never make anybody's list of plausible nautical mishaps. Moreover, the characters, with the notable exception of Tom Burke's Bluey, whose drugs, camera and dirty mind are what set the murderous cat amongst the blessed-out pigeons, are lazily, interchangeably drawn. This is a particular problem with the girls, who even without the porridge-thick Leeds accents would still read like three iterations of the same cookie-cutter chavette, ruining any chance of emotional investment or a natural rooting interest. Donkey Punch is lovely to look at, and fans of exposed British flesh and/or viscera will certainly have their fun, but because it was the visuals and not the script that got the polish it earns at best a split decision. As seems often the case with lesser releases, the extras are larded on pretty thick. We get commentary tracks, a making-of, a raft of deleted scenes, a long interview with first-time director Oliver Blackburn, and extensive sit-downs with the (largely unknown) cast, who seem uniformly likable and up-for-it, but are unable to provide any particular insight. (Mongrel Media)