by Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
When a boy named Rabbit (Eamon Farren) and his mom try to take a taxi home after a movie, the driver turns out to be a serial killer who murders the mother and keeps the boy captive. He raises the boy as if he was lower than a dog. Allowing him only to eat what’s left on his master’s plate and forcing him to clean up after each horrendous murder he commits. The boy grows up under his rule, chained to his own filthy bed. The film is a hard to watch foray into the relationship of the boy, now a grown man and the twisted psyche of the psychopath that abducted him.
Chained has you uneasy from start to finish. There are no moments of comfort as you wait for the taxi driver Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) to bring home another victim or fly off the handle and abuse Rabbit at any moment. All the while we are faced with the hopelessness of Rabbit’s situation. From the moment you see he has grown into an adult under the captivity of Bob, you know in your gut there may be no happy ending in site. The casting choices for Chained are perfect, especially Vincent D’Onofrio. With deliberately unpredictable movements and strange speech impediments make his character more realistic than you’d ever want him to be and Eamon Farren does a great job putting him-self in an unspeakably horrible situation in a role that had to be difficult to play.
If you are like me, the question you may find yourself asking is why. Why am I watching this poor kid be subjected to such a terrible life? I can only have patience for this amount of ugliness if there is a reason for it. Thankfully Chained mildly succeeds here. There is some method to the madness because they are exploring what makes a person like Bob so sadistic which is strangely fascinating. We see the interactions between these two in an unfathomably horrible situation and the relationship that unfolds through force as if we are a fly on the wall, thankful to go unnoticed. It’s hard to watch but it’s not ugly just for the sake of being ugly like many other films of its nature and that’s what kept my attention throughout. It’s torturous but it’s not pointless torture porn either.
I get the feeling the ending was meant to be a shocker. It fell flat in that regard and was so off pace with the rest of the film that it leaves you in-different. There are some questions left to be answered which is sure to give you something to debate with your friends afterward. Assuming you don’t feel like you need a shower immediately after watching Chained. It’s a dark and dungy way to spend a couple of hours but it’s not all for naught. There are a lot of interesting characterizations to explore even if Chained isn’t quite on the level of sensationalism it was shooting for.