Plemya (The Tribe)

*Contains spoilers*

This is probably one of the more unique movies I've watched recently. "Unique" doesn't always translate into "good," however.

Plemya is a Ukrainian film set in a school for the deaf. It's entirely in sign language, meaning no one ever speaks, or at least we're not allowed to hear them. There are also no subtitles, so if you don't know sign language (I sort of tried teaching myself when I was a kid, but...yeah), then it's a matter of "actions speak louder than words." I'm fine with that, personally. It's an interesting concept, and I can see why they chose to have zero spoken words or subtitles. It truly adds to the storytelling.

Plemya starts off with a teenage boy, Sergei, joining the school, which we quickly surmise is basically just a school for thugs and hookers. At first I thought, Oh dear, this is a story about a nice boy being corrupted by a bunch of violent criminals. Well, as it turns out, he fits right in! I was glossing over a synopsis for this, and it portrayed him as struggling to fit in, which is not how I interpreted it. That was what I expected, but at a certain point, not too far into the film, I realized he was just going with it. And, further along, I realized that he is, in fact, the worst of anyone in the school, and I do mean that. There are gangs who beat people up for their groceries, pimp out their fellow classmates to truckers (girl, you better get that shit checked out. Do you know how dirty truckers are?), steal, and god knows what else. But trust me, Sergei is the worst, you just don't know it soon enough.

It's not an easy film to watch, but it's captivating. That's the appeal of unique movies; even if they make you want to look away, you can't quite give up the experience. It's worth watching until the very end, at which point you'll likely do what I did and develop buggy eyes whilst saying WTF. I love those moments.

I feel it's only fair to warn you about some of the things you'll see in this film if you choose to watch it. There isn't much that gets to me except animal violence, but that's pretty much the only thing you're safe from in Plemya. So here it goes:

  • Graphic violence
  • Rape
  • A thigh-clenching abortion scene
  • Murder
  • Graphic nudity (but it was meh)
  • Graphic sex
  • Super graphic oral sex (I bet that was fun to film)
  • Nasty trucker sex
  • More nasty trucker sex
  • Truckers

All in all, it was worth a watch, but I wouldn't give it another go.

My Grade: C