Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
You look like an angel
Walk like an angel
Talk like an angel
But I got wise
You're the devil in disguise
Today I was supposed to rewatch Get Out in my Film/Video Aesthetics class. Then not too long into class, my stomach started feeling upset. It got worse and worse throughout the lesson and I had to excuse myself to the bathroom a number of times. By the time it was time to watch the movie, I had to leave the class. As I was walking away from the classroom, I was wondering why my stomach was feeling so bad. At first I thought it was something I ate or drank this morning. But as I thought about it more, I think I figured out what it was. Stress. I've been stressed and depressed the fuck out lately. You know the feeling of when you need a break but know you can't take it? I kinda feel like that. I was able to detox enough to get my stomach feeling better. I'm soon going to seek help, from both a tutor for classwork and a counselor for any mental and emotional issues I think I'm having.
Basically, I needed something to calm the senses. Maybe not entirely that, but something to offer a good distraction. Didn't have to be feel good, but just escapism. After enjoying my viewing from last night of Fireworks, I decided to take another look at my first Kenneth Anger film, Scorpio Rising. And you know what? That did the trick, alright. I'm walking out of this with a whole new appreciation for the flick in particular, but in a more general sense, purely aesthetic storytelling. If that's a thing, Scorpio Rising may very well be the greatest. If there's a story, it's thin and can only be inferred. But that's not the focus anyway. This is a ride, and if you can't get behind it, the film doesn't give a shit. However, if you can get behind it, it's more than ready to offer you a grand time.
As I mentioned in my previous review, the music selection is incredible. This uses "Blue Velvet" better than Blue Velvet. "(You're the) Devil in Disguise" and "Hit the Road Jack" following it just makes that particular section of the film that much better. The uses of "Point of No Return" and "Wipe Out" near the end might be two of my favorite uses of a song in any movie. Scorpio Rising is pure rock 'n roll. But not the modern rock 'n roll. Rebellious rock 'n roll. The type that parents would yell at their kids to shut off, but they'd only crank it louder. Hey, there ain't many things more "rock 'n roll" than gay Nazi bikers, right?
I love the inherent contradiction of that. A gay Nazi makes about as much sense as a Jewish one. The contrasts through this movie just help its feeling of freedom. Nothing needs to make sense. It's expression, it's rapid, it's rebellious. The presence of death, lust, and sadism remains permanent, increasing in tension with each passing song and visual cue. The leather gets tighter and the engines roar faster. Bare bodies are blank canvases. Slicked back hair, cigarettes, and sunglasses. James Dean, Jesus Christ, and Adolf Hitler. Like Fireworks before it, one has to wonder if this would be any less controversial today.
The first time I watched Scorpio Rising, it was a shock to the senses. I don't think I was ready for it, but I still enjoyed it. Now after my second viewing, I can look at this square in the eyes and deeply admire what this piping hot piece of abstract expressionism is. I love it, and I'll probably come to love it even more as the years go by. Alongside Refn, I'll thank Anger when my first film comes around. Just feels like it'd be right. Said it once, and I'll say it again. Long live gay anger.
He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good
He's a rebel 'cause he never ever ever does what he should
But just because he doesn't do what everybody else does
That's no reason why I can't give him all my love
He's always good to me
Always treats me tenderly
'Cause he's not a rebel, no, no, no
He's not a rebel, no, no, no, to me