Koen Mortier’s innovative camerawork (strongly influenced by Gaspar Noé) marks only one of the many unconventional aspects of Ex Drummer. With a phenomenal avant-garde script and precise performances all around, it is surprising how few Americans are familiar with the film. A completely polarizing film (achieving a Rotten Tomatoes rating of precisely 50%) the film was banned in Belgium (Mortier’s native country), France, and the United Kingdom, however is available in the United States through Netflix. Controversial not only for its violence, but also for the unsimulated sex, it is a wonder why it is not included on any “most controversial film” lists.
The road to success is a troublesome affair for three men starting a new band who add an already famous drummer to the mix. Perhaps one of the best examples of punk cinema, highlighting not only the punk life-style but also criticizing its ideals, Ex Drummer shows its audience the trials and tribulations of being punk. One of the major themes of the film is a critical view of the homophobia and sexism inherent to the Belgian punk culture. The guitar player Jan Verbeek is open about his homosexuality while the lead singer Koen de Geyter is open about his violence toward women. Verbeek is often criticized by his fellow punk comrades for his orientation, and there is much violence directed toward the gay characters within the film. The film presents a hyperbolic satire of punk culture that is often misinterpreted as an approval of the punk ideals, rather than a condemnation thereof.
Here we see Koen de Geyter in his home, where he frequently beats women half to death. Whenever Geyter is filmed in his apartment, Mortier portrays him on the ceiling, with other characters on the floor, implying that Geyter’s megalomania is only respected in his home
Guy Stridsigne 12/31/2011