‘Pulk’ is a crime story written, directed, and edited by Julian Filigno. The movie stars Filigno, Christian McKenna, Dennis Lewis Haug, Mari Bensadoun, Alexandra Flores Matic, Mark Paci, and Alfio Foti, among many others. The movie was released in the United States on December 3, 2020.
‘Pulk’ is a fragment of three stories connected by a central one about a young man called Adrien Graham who was arrested for the disappearance of two sisters. When the movie starts, Adrien is being interviewed by a journalist about the accusations laid against him. He isn’t much of a talker, and the reporter carries on the conversation with minimal reaction from Graham. The kidnapping story is replayed repeatedly, intertwined into the other three fragments of the entire narrative.
The first segment tells the story of a family of three, father, son, and mother. Despite having very little dialogue, this family looks distressed and dysfunctional. First, it doesn’t seem like they interact with the outside world at all. They are confined in their house in the woods. The father appears to hurt the son for no reason at all. He has a patch on his eye, most likely from the injuries inflicted by his father. The mother is like a zombie, always seated quietly, never says a word, her expressions are blank, and she does nothing else in the movie apart from just being physically there.
At some point, the father asks the son to eat from the floor, apparently because he was in the Zoo zone. We are not told whatsoever why everyone in that family behaves the way they do, how they function or what the conflict is. Somewhere within the story, an announcer can be heard over the TV narrating and giving updates on the Adrian Graham case, possibly to show a connection that the audience doesn’t get until the last few minutes of the movie.
The next part of the story begins with a young woman who seems to be having car trouble in a secluded area. A man whose face is never shown comes to help her fix her puncture. She stubs him several times and leaves him for the dead. Then we see the same woman as a warehouse worker who seems to be emotionally in pain. She is working alone in a massive warehouse; she looks distraught, which we later learn is from her boss’s brutality. At some point in the story, the employer sexually assaults her during a night shift. There is the constant use of the word others. There is only one other girl who appears at the warehouse. She looks depressed too, doesn’t say a word, and packs her bags, and leaves.
The last fragment is about a self-destructive mechanic. When we get introduced to him, he has a black eye which is pretty in bad shape. He looks overly stressed, moves around like a zombie without a purpose with his head hanging low. He comes across a poster about someone who died, looks at it, seems slightly affected, and moves away. We later learn that he is the one who killed the deceased man with his car, fled the accident scene, and is now attempting to flee the country.
The stories are indeed interesting individually. But as a whole, the piecing together wasn’t done so well. The editing isn’t the best. There are tons of black frames acting as transitions throughout the movie. This creates a disconnect to the person watching it. There is no creativity at all when stitching the shots together. It seems like someone was just told to piece together the movie just for the sake of it.
The shots aren’t creative either in terms of variation and angles. The cameraman mainly sticks to the wide shots. We hardly see the emotional bits of the characters as close-ups are barely there. There are no establishing shots or cutaways. One can’t even tell where the various locations are; one feels very claustrophobic, which, to be honest, makes the movie very dull.
‘Pulk’ is supposed to be a crime story. It’s prolonged and drags through its running time. There isn’t enough dialogue that could have propelled the story forward. It’s simply a series of bodies moving around aimlessly. One doesn’t connect with the characters at all because audiences don’t understand what’s bothering them.
The acting didn’t do the movie any justice at all, especially being deprived of the dialogue. The performances were entirely expected to tell the story interestingly, but sadly, that doesn’t happen, and many viewers will find themselves dozing off barely 15 minutes into the film.
The film is basically carried forward by the natural background sounds. You can hear the sound of a generator on set powering the lights. There is no score for the movie. Just music from gadgets played by the characters leading to zero emotions, zero tension, zero suspense.
By the time this movie reveals its connection with the main story, it’s too late into the film, and most of the audiences have already probably given up watching it. We learn that a woman murdered her husband then killed her son, referencing how the first story ended. A young woman stabbed a guy who came to help change a tire. We learned this from the beginning of the second story; though we didn’t know why before. However, we never get to learn who exactly the man is.
At the end of the movie, Adrian Graham is released, citing a lack of evidence. We see him comfortably taking his car and driving to an old house away from town. At the back of his truck, there’s duct tape and ropes, the mall footage is also shown. Adrien can be heard telling the reporter that monsters are not built at the moment, and no one understands why people do what they do repeatedly, adding that there isn’t always a cause for action.
Generally, ‘Pulk’ isn’t an exciting movie. Yes, the concept is there, but the way it’s put together is wanting. It has no visual appeal at all, no speck of creativity, barely-there dialogue, and most people will probably doze off watching this movie. It failed where it would have been a decent watch.