The Turtle's Head (Ari Aster, 2014, USA)

The Turtle's Head is 2014 short by Ari Aster. The film opens in true film noir fashion, with the camera panning over some office buildings and the narration of a detective. The detective in question is played by veteran character actor Richard Riehle, known for his work on the sitcom Grounded for Life and the soap opera The Young and the Restless. A woman has come to the detective with a case about a man whom she believes to be poisoned. Detective Bing Shooster, we quickly discover, is quite sleazy, and cares more about the woman's body than the case he is presenting to her. The film is already patently absurd, as we are led to believe that Shooster is a big-time womanizing detective, with women on the side.

Detective Shooster begins his case, but no sooner than he starts is he disrupted by a revelation. He goes to the doctor who examines Shooster's member and tells Shooster that his member is retracting. Shooster becomes fixated on this issue and begins showing it to his fellow detectives. His girlfriend visits him but he quickly escapes from her and drives off. The film becomes patently more absurd as Shooster visits a pharmacist and a random guy in a store and shows them his issue.


Shooster endures a quite painful experiment to fix his problem. His girlfriend visits and he tries to enlist her to help him solve his problem. At this point, the film has become so absurd, and this is where Aster's dark humor shines through. The Turtle's Head is absurd that shows a more comedic turn for the director who has become most associated with the horror genre in the last few years. Hopefully, we see more of this absurdist streak from Aster in his future films, including Disappointment Blvd.


6/10

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