Izzy Lee’s Short Film ‘Legitimately’ Disturbing For All The Right Reasons

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“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Rep. Todd Akin

The senator in LegitimateThis quote – one of many to come from Republican politicians over the last couple of years in regards to their ongoing fight to end abortion in the U.S.A. in every shape and form – including cases of rape, incest, and medical threat to the mother’s life – opens director, writer, and producer Izzy Lee’s five-minute-plus horror short Legitimate. With a tagline like, “Shut That Whole Thing Down,” you know from the outset she won’t be fooling around and, delightfully, she circumvents the obvious sexual angle, going for the throat in a purely biological one.

Beautifully shot and edited by Bryan McKay, the film opens with a Senator taking a seat to watch a stripshow put on specifically for his entertainment. He takes occasional sips at a tumbler of whiskey or scotch or somesuch drink as his female entertainment for the evening emerges in expected erotic outfit, intricately tied up in rope. She hands the ends of the rope to the Senator, and her enticing dance consists of undoing her bonds as her mark watches. It’s an effective and clever “escaping from control” metaphor, and before the Senator’s finished his drink he’s gone woozy and passed out. Guess that stuff was stronger than he thought, right? Of course, it’s likely it had a little help…

Legitmate posterThe next morning he wakes up in an alley, his jacket covering his face, blood soaking through the front of his shirt, and a comedic-slash-mournful “lovable loser” country ditty playfully sets the scene. Let’s just say there’s a reason for all that blood on the front of his shirt, and it isn’t a shaving accident…

Legitimate Three WomenLee bypasses the notion of rape almost entirely – there is a physical violation if you want to call it that, but it’s merely to produce an end result – and, with this film as her pickaxe, strikes directly to the heart of the emotionality residing in the concept of serving as host to an organism forced upon one traumatically that, due to the circumstances, is unwelcome. But this is a horror film, remember, and as such, literalizes the emotional into the physical and representational, taking the psychological and making it biological. We’re in an offshoot of Cronenberg country here, with just the right blend of E.C. Comics-style irony to bring it all together in one dark, macabrely hilarious masterstroke.

Legitimate is a film for our time, and Izzy Lee and crew have not so much taken a shot at their conservative targets but full-on kicked them in the crotch right where their philosophy seems callous and inconsiderate.

And that’s precisely what the short film medium does best.

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