BLACKMAIL BOY

NR
Reviews

Narcissistic, avaricious Christos (Yannis Tsimitselis) has his entire town hot for him, including drug-addicted single mom Tzia (Joyce Evidi) and Yiorgos (Akyllas Karazisis), a married bureaucrat. Christos' mother (Nena Menti) has a busy agenda herself, holding onto her pie-making business and some desirable real estate while-unbeknownst to her combative daughter Yiota (Jeannie Papadopoulou)-sleeping with her equally venal son-in-law Stelios (Alexis Georgoulis), who comes up with the idea of blackmailing poor, closeted Yiorgos.

In Blackmail Boy, writer-director team Thanasis Papathanasiou and Michalis Reppas seem determined to outdo every outrageous Greek-tragedy plot twist they can think of, and their super-tawdry film becomes as compulsively watchable as it is often inadvertently laughable. You think, "Oh, no, they can't be actually going there," but they do, they do. And as if all that entangled sex and greed weren't enough, they start their film with a tragic childhood car accident which kills off Christos' other sister and leaves his father in a respirator-dependent coma. Many of the more outlandish confrontations between this truly sick family are carried out in front of this miserable scion/hapless Greek chorus, who stares impassively and sightlessly through some ridiculous-looking contact lenses.

Tsimitselis is, thankfully, handsome enough to make convincing the devastating effect he has on everyone, but it is the women who really dominate the action, like so many Elektras, Jocastas and Clytemnestras. Somewhere in heaven, Katina Paxinou and Melina Mercouri, two prime examples of Hellenic hamminess, must be smiling down approvingly at the teeth-gnashing, growling, spitting and snarling antics of Evidi, Menti, Papadopoulou and Maria Kavoyianni, who plays Yiorgos' wife, a pussycat who turns tigerish.

-David Noh