This short marks the writing, directing, and producing debut of the Boston area’s own Izzy Lee. The title is based off of a ridiculously misogynistic quote by Senator Todd Akin, in which this genius of the human race said, and I quote…
If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
Yeah. Someone actually said that. Fucking ay. Sometimes it’s super embarrassing to be a dude. You’re making the normal guys look bad, politicians! Like that’s anything new…
Anyway, on to the short. It clocks in at around five minutes, and is without any kind of dialogue save for one line at the beginning, where a blonde woman says “welcome back senator.” Red lights all around. The senator watches a scantily-clad woman with a variety of knots tied about herself dance for him. As she dances, she lets him grab parts of the rope, and he unties the knots which bind her. It’s a surprisingly enticing form of tease. In this scene, it’s like the senator is unwrapping a present; an apt visual metaphor for the objectification of women by an older generation. The scene is dimly lit, and atmospheric. Seems like the type of place an old senator would frequent. It rings true.
Of course, it seems that somebody put something in his drink. I always think of this song when such scenes occur.
Uh-oh, the senator seems to have himself a case of the drugged-uppies.
Cue three ladies, lit in an otherworldly green. And hmm, they have a weird little thing in a jar. And from there on out, things are invasive for Mr. Senator.
Short, to the point, and moody, Legitimate is an exercise in the power of visuals to convey tone. Legitimate switches from a seductive red color scheme with the dancing girl, to a nefarious green color scheme when the three ladies with the jar cut open the drugged up senator, and ends with the harsh over-bright glare of sun on a dirty street as the senator wakes up to quite a surprise indeed. The only nagging question left is, what the Hell was that thing from the jar? It’s some kind of little worm beastie, that much is apparent, but as this short doesn’t have the budget to go too nutty, we are left with close-ups, and have to fill in our imagination for the rest.
Still, despite the effects at the end, Legitimate uses score and lighting to its advantage. It’s well crafted, and intriguing. The short is an effective social commentary on male privilege in the rape culture, without having to resort to heavy-handed dialogue. It wisely chooses sight over exposition, and manages to take the viewer through a vastly different emotional landscape in just five short minutes.
Legitimate is legit all right.