“Frigga killed one of our regular clients yesterday”
Thriller En Grym Film to give the movie its full title is an exploitation movie from Sweden. It is also one of the most infamous movies ever made. The film is in Swedish but dubbed into English which means maybe it shouldn’t be reviewed here. The reason I am including it is because this movie is one of the most notorious yet influential European movies of all time. If that seems like excessive hyperbole, without Thriller, Kill Bill would not exist in its current form. Tarantino acknowledges its influence, The character of Ellie Driver is a direct tribute to Thriller.
Thriller is the story of Frigga/Madeline ( Christina Lindberg) who is sexually assaulted as a child. The trauma of this event leaves her mute. Frigga grows up & one day she accepts a lift from Tony. He subsequently kidnaps her, drugs her, slowly turning her into a heroin addict. Once addicted Tony puts her to work as a prostitute in return for her heroin & a cut of her takings. At first Frigga refuses to co-operate & scratches a clients face. As a punishment Tony takes a scalpel & blinds her in one eye. Frigga goes back to work wearing an eyepatch & bides her time taking lessons in martial arts & buying weapons until she is ready to take revenge against everyone that wronged her.
There are two versions of Thriller available. One with scenes of hardcore pornography inserted & one without. I have only seen the one with the scenes of hardcore pornography & can safely say they are not needed & if anything detract from the movie. These scenes do not involve Christina Lindberg, they look like they were cut in from a completely different movie. I’m no prude but the film gains nothing from these scenes & the scenes themselves are crass & unnecessary. While we are on the subject of Thrillers weaknesses. The pacing of the movie isn’t great & the plot is full of holes. After all if Frigga could leave the brothel to train in martial arts or buy weapons, why go back? I would also point out that when Frigga starts using the shotgun the film goes into super slo mo. I really mean super, super slo mo. You can go make a coffee as Frigga pulls the trigger & by the time you come back her target will still be in mid-air on his way to the ground.
What Thriller does have in its favour is Christina Lindberg. Who is quite simply with the exception of Beatrice Dalle, possibly the most beautiful woman ever to grace the big screen. She is outstanding in this movie. Her performance is wonderfully understated & at the same time so powerful. You feel for Frigga, You feel her pain, degradation & suffering. Lindberg achieves all this playing a character that doesn’t speak! Add to that the sight of Lindberg in an eyepatch, long black coat, holding a shotgun. Iconic, influential & frankly as cool as fuck. Thriller is Christina Lindberg’s movie.
Thriller is a heavily flawed film, yet it is a film that demands to be seen, even if it is just for Christina Lindberg’s performance. Recommended, just don’t expect too much.