“Ask no questions”
The Forbidden Door is a horror/thriller from Indonesia that took me completely by surprise when I first saw it. The movie was nothing like what I expected & turned out to be a highly complex, thought-provoking movie that really impressed me.
Gambir is a successful sculptor, as the movie begins he is exhibiting his latest collection. Surrounded by his friends, family & beautiful girlfriend, Gambir seems to have the perfect life. All too soon it becomes apparent all is not well in Gambir’s life. His family, friends & especially his girlfriend seem intent on running his life & making his decisions for him. Added to this Gambir’s sculptures are all of pregnant women which, during their creation Gambir places an aborted foetus in each one. He obtains the fetuses from a local abortion clinic where his own girlfriend goes for an abortion because her family would not take the shame of her having a child out of wedlock. It’s when Gambir starts receiving messages asking from help which seem to be coming from an abused young boy, that events begin to spiral & Gambir is drawn into the world of abuse & snuff.
The Forbidden Door is a hard film to write a synopsis for. It is one of those movies that is constantly changing. Just when you think you know what is going on & what is about to happen, the plot changes course & becomes something different. As a comparison think of how the magnificent Martyrs suddenly changes tone in an instant. The Forbidden Door does this a few times, just when you think you know whats really happening it changes. Writer/director Joko Anwar really has crafted a wonderfully suspenseful & intricate movie. Overall the movie has a David Lynch feel to it, but there are also nods to Hitchcock & De Palma in there too. The movie’s climax is stunning, bringing in a plot twist I never saw coming & that took a good few minutes for this humble reviewer to fully grasp all the subtleties by re-interpreting what had gone before. Its one of those rare movies that on the surface as you are watching it seems so straightforward yet by the end really has you thinking. The acting by all involved is first-rate, Fachry Albar deserves mention for his performance as Gambir. He captures Gambir’s utter ambivalence to life at the movies beginning, then allowing his character to come to terms with the gravity of the events unfolding around him perfectly. There is so much I could say but I’m fearful of giving too much away. I would also add that you should ignore the movie’s poster, it bares little resemblance to the film & is very misleading.
Don’t take my word for it, see this movie for yourself. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. A marvelous piece of cinema. Finally watch the end credits as there is a short scene after that ties up the final loose ends. Highly recommended.