Monthly Smut: Breaking Point (1975)

Breaking Point Poster

Directed by Ron Silberman Jr.

Synopsis
A woman returns from a shopping trip. She’s attacked in her home, raped and done in with several blows to the skull by an unseen assailant wielding an ashtray.

Cut to an awkward, bespectacled, borderline autistic lover of toy trains that bears at least a passing resemblance to Steve Carell’s character from The Office. He works in a skyscraper, tediously stamping reports, sneering at the gals who deliver more paperwork to his desk, muttering “Bitch.” as they walk away. His name is Billing.

Then, a breaking news report. “An extremely cruel rape-murder was committed yesterday afternoon.” the newscaster states. “[The victim] was raped by a still-unidentified man…” The reporter turns it over to a Dr. Sigmund (like, Freud?), an alleged “expert” on psychiatric matters.

The man weighs in with some top knowledge, “One thing to keep in mind when dealing with deviants like this is never to offer any resistance. Now, a man like this actually wants you to resist, so our advice is to keep calm and let him do whatever he wants to. Even if worst comes to worst, you’ll only get raped. And current statistics indicate that 89% of the respondents, the women who answered the survey, have at one time or another in their lives actually wanted to be raped.”

“So, this man is giving these women just what they want.” the reporter concludes.

“Well, in 89% of the cases, and that’s a clear majority.” The expert clarifies. Then, turning back to the camera, “But that asshole has to stop killing them!”

By now, Billing’s hamster wheel is spinning full-speed. With the newfound knowledge that most women like to be raped, and the one’s who don’t will be going along with it anyway, he’d be stupid not to exploit them sexually! Jackpot.

The next day at work, he steps out to enact phase one of his master plan, raping everybody. He spots a looker in a subway station, follows her all the way to her house, boldly walks in the front door, leads her to a room with a bay window and politely, but authoritatively tells her to undress. Without saying a word, she not only removes her clothes, but swoops in to administer a model blowjob (part of that 89%, I see). Billing sets her next to a fireplace, titty bangs her and lets loose on her face. Echoey moans, what sounded like backward music and other ambient noises play over the scene. The two bang some more. Finally, the girl sends him off with a dexterous handjawb. Billing exits the front door with a smug look on his face, breaking the fourth wall as he promenades away.

You sonamagun, you.

Back at work, another newscast. The same reporter from earlier announces that all approved citizens will now be receiving a “requisition card” from the government redeemable for a complimentary sidearm. Billing takes advantage of this situation as well. He stops at his local munitions store, and after receiving his free gun, is sold additional “fragmentation ammo” that “explodes inside da guy” (Billing tests these rounds in a wooded area, they literally explode trees in half).

Breaking Point VHS

“I tell you, what we need in this town is that everybody gets this fragmentation ammo and starts cleaning up.” the shopkeeper declares, unaware the very person he’s talking to is in need of the most “cleaning up”, via shock treatment, psychotherapy, medication, what have you. We get the impression this Billing creeper is seriously off his rocker, not just a conniving, Machiavellian opportunist with a high sex drive. This suspicion is eventually validated when he flips a radio on and listens to another so-called psychological expert yak away about schizophrenia. To further illustrate how much of a whack-job he is, the action is interspersed with a series of what we assume to be daydreams, comprised of even more sexcapades. You can tell when you’re watching a daydream; the footage is overexposed, and the women neigh likes horses. During one of these psychedelic reveries, Billing flicks a fly from the tip of his penis with a rubber band, then laughs incredibly loudly.

Later, he follows another woman into her home and demands that she strip. She too seems willing, but stabs his junk mid-coitus with a pair of scissors, then peels away in her car. Billing gives chase, ramming the woman off road. She veers into a farmhouse. Her car explodes. She dies. Billing sticks around to watch as a team of firemen hose the inferno — yet, isn’t implicated or even questioned by the authorities. Good work, Swedish police. Ya fucks.

Without repercussion, the dude just keeps on a-raping his way through the Swedish countryside (or having sex, depending on which percent of the population he happens upon). After a while, it gets to a point where the women start making the moves. “Would you like to fuck me?” a hitchhiker asks in a robot voice. Boy howdy! Where will Billing’s misadventures land him next? What a character.

Review (SPOILERS)
This “pornografisk thriller” (Swedish for “family comedy”) was directed by Bo Arne Vibenius (better known for the controversial rape-and-revenge classic Thriller: A Cruel Picture, a big inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill) pseudonymously as Ron Silberman Jr., starring Anton Rothschild (another pseudonym, two time actor and cinematographer of over forty motion pictures, Andreas Bellis). Like Thriller before it, Breaking Point is a hardcore pornographic (though much more thoroughly here), at times artsy-fartsy, exploitation endeavor. This is Vibenius’ third and final directing credit, though he’d go on to work for a few more years, mainly as a production manager.

BP1

The movie notably borrows and makes heavy use of Anton Karas’ zither-tastic theme from The Third Man, a British mystery flick from 1949 starring Orson Welles (I know this because it was part of my Intro to Film curriculum back in college), an admitted favorite of the director. The tune, aptly titled “The Third Man Theme”, is endearing in an old-timey way, counterpointing the rape, general misogyny, violence and otherwise disreputable goings-on to an almost cheeky effect. None of the other reviews I’ve read mention the music, so there ya go. Have a listen.

Though it sounds like it should be, given its subject matter, this isn’t a heavy, or especially shocking movie. It’s not presented that way. The opposite, actually. Its rape is weirdly consensual, and its kills are plain campy. To illustrate: Billing is taken hostage by a group of armed robbers toward the end, and driven to a secluded location to be executed. The gunman’s rifle jams, giving Billing a chance to command the situation, blowing his opposition away. A police helicopter flies overhead, and he fucking shoots it down with an assault rifle, stoically gazes for a moment, allowing the flames from the crash to reflect off his glasses, then jacks a fly whip, and just for good measure, runs a pedestrian off the side of the road while he makes his getaway. It’s so completely over the top you can’t help but shake your head. Without giving too much away, it’s scenes like these that allow the last line of the film to work so well as a punch line. We’ve all seen Home Alone, right? Remember what Macaulay Culkin says at the end? Same deal.

Unlike the mildly more successful (and by “successful”, I mean that it hasn’t fallen into complete obscurity, having been released to DVD at least twice in the US) Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Breaking Point is much less accessible. Told from the villain’s point of view, it lingers, and wanders, with no real sense of direction, following Billing documentary-like as he ventures deeper and deeper down a rabbit hole of serial-consensual rape, mass murder, shooting helicopters, road rage, jerking off into coworkers’ cups of coffee and blowing up pine trees.

Things look to be going way too far when Billing posts up at a playground and eyes a young schoolgirl, but nope. They hang out in his car and eat candy. Afterward, Billing drops her off at her house and tells her they’ll never see each other again. I guess even schizophrenic serial rapist-murderers have their limits. That’s a relief, I guess.

So, what to make of this campy, psychedelic, XXX exploitation flick? Are there any profound bits of commentary buried beneath its cum shots and off-the-wall action sequences? Is it knocking psychiatry? Feminism? The liberal Swedish government? None, or all of these things? Hell if I know. But here’s an idea — maybe director Vibenius was aiming to leave us with less of a statement than a question, like How far would you go if you knew you could get away with it all?

TRIVIA: The actor who played the shopkeeper, Per-Axel Arosenius, committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the Swedish IRS as an act of protest over a monetary dispute.

A Few Questions
•Why is it titled Breaking Point?

The Verdict
I watched this on a — well, let’s say less-than-reputable — video sharing site, which isn’t something I’ve done before, or even endorse, but I’m fairly sure this was never released in the US and is part of the public domain. I’m guessing the copy I saw, dubbed in English with Swedish subtitles, was ripped from a European VHS (Carrere Video released a French VHS, but wouldn’t that have French subtitles?). While viewing a digitized copy of an old VHS on a 9-inch iPad screen, banner ads flashing “one simple trick for a bigger dick”, is far from this reviewer’s ideal movie-going experience, it’s probably the only way you’ll be able to find this. Now, is it worth finding? Well, I won’t call it a masterpiece, or even great, but it’s pretty bizarre viewing. Give it a look if you lean toward the weirder side of the spectrum, and/or you’re curious to see what else the director of Thriller churned out during his (perhaps deservedly) short-lived career.

Recommendations
Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973)
Hollow Man (2000)

Total Run Time: 1 hour 26 minutes 51 seconds (user upload)

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7 Responses to “Monthly Smut: Breaking Point (1975)”

  1. OK, this sounds weird enough to go on my must-watch list. great review!

    Like

  2. Xenolicker Says:

    1975 – it was a dirty year…

    Like

two cents here

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