My Letterboxd Watchlist #8: Ms .45 (1981)



My Letterboxd watchlist journey continues https://letterboxd.com/awolverton/watchlist/ today with Ms .45 (1981) a crime/revenge thriller.




The Set-Up


Abel Ferrara’s breakout exploitation film follows a young New York seamstress named Thana (Zoë Tamerlis, also known as Zoë Lund), a shy, mute young woman who is attacked and raped walking to her apartment. Things get worse. As soon as she arrives inside her apartment, she’s attacked and raped by a different man. Only this time, Thana gets the best of her attacker and kills him. (I won’t tell you how.) She soon decides to take out her revenge on other men, culminating in a wild finale.



Who’s Responsible for This?


Ms .45 appears on many lists of the best neo-noir films, so I can’t pin down where I first heard about it. Friends have also recommended it to me, but when I recently posted a “What should I watch next from my Letterboxd Watchlist?” question, Ms .45 got enough votes for me to check it out.



The Verdict


Ms .45 could easily have turned into just another exploitation movie, but there’s far more going on here than just a quick revenge flick. The early ‘80s New York location is crucial to setting the tone for the film, and Ferrara creates a wonderful sense of the city as an oppressive character filled with men threatening women (and not always sexually). Thana’s inability to speak is important and handled well, and Tamerlis’s performance is impressive. Ferrara and writer Nicholas St. John have clearly put a lot of thought into this crime picture, which is much better than it has to be.


Would I Watch It Again?


Rape scenes in any film are difficult to watch, but I would like to see the film again with a good commentary track, so I will probably revisit this one at some point.


Where Can I Find It?


I watched the film on Tubi, which is free, but with commercials. The commercials are relatively few, but my main problem with Tubi was getting the sound to sync with the picture (perhaps because I was a first-time user). The movie is also on DVD and Blu-ray, but both are a little pricey. If you’re unsure, stick with Tubi.

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