TARA THORNE | CANADA | 2022 | 81 MIN | ENGLISH
The guy exploiting drunk women. The aggressive catcaller. The rapist who walks free. Wally takes on these Bad Men, becoming a vigilante in Halifax’s North End. Harnessing her “blind rage” and lust-fueled partnership with Lou, she undertakes a bloody mission that will rattle your sense of right and wrong.
All around Wally (Lesley Smith), Bad Men – always in the same jean jacket and grey hoodie, face unseen – brutishly insert themselves into women’s lives. As Wally blurs the line between her retributive violence and budding relationship with Lou (Kathleen Dorian), the film sneakily swings from a romance to a sociocultural thriller, and a seething duality comes to define Wally’s life and slam poetry (written by Halifax’s poet laureate, Sue Goyette). Is what she is compelled to do a justifiable response to a broken system or a “foolhardy,” ethically ambiguous way to land her in jail “or worse”? Aimed at a public incensed by #MeToo and pandemic-time domestic abuse and full of the lightning rod audacity of a Promising Young Woman, Tara Thorne’s Compulsus is in-your-face filmmaking ripe for post-film debate. And reveals a whole new use for a yoga mat strap.