Reactions to the controversial gender reassignment thriller (Re)Assignment are mostly negative after it makes its debut at the Toronto Film Festival.
The film created controversy even before it premiered at the festival on Wednesday. In the film, Michelle Rodriguez plays an assassin named Frank Kitchen who kills the brother of a deranged surgeon. Kitchen is then captured and forced into having gender reassignment surgery against his will.
“I’m bisexual. I do guys. I do girls. You can’t really argue with me because I’m you.”
Members of the transgender community have expressed their displeasure with the premise of the film because it portrays gender reassignment surgery as a form of punishment. It has also been viewed as transphobic and exploitative. The controversy surrounding the film has prompted its star to be forthcoming about her own sexuality. “I’m bisexual. I do guys. I do girls. You can’t really argue with me because I’m you. So if I do a movie, I’d never do a movie with the intention of offending anybody in the LGBT community because I’m a part of it,” Rodriguez told Reuters in an interview.
The film is directed by Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors) and also stars Sigourney Weaver (Alien) as the deranged doctor. Weaver also told Reuters, “certainly no-one is demeaned or denigrated,’ while also adding, “It’s not a Disney movie. It is noir.”
What some of the critics are saying:
Film site Collider called the movie “Tasteless, Exploitative and Unforgettable.”
Screen Crush said, “If only I could (De)Watch this film!”
Vulture has called the film “a total disasterpiece.”
The Guardian deemed it “a staggering misfire.”
The only reviewer to defend the film was Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter. “The somber tone and low-end production values may not be exactly in tune with young neo-noir enthusiasts, but more seasoned fans of the genre and the filmmaker will recognize and embrace Hill’s use of noir to play with and comment on topical issues in a deliciously subversive way, political correctness be damned.” Said McCarthy.