Nowadays, it’s hard to find a really amusing and – at the same time – devilishly clever comedy that is as positively ridiculous as it is suspenseful. Pervertigo proves to be sort of a fresh eye-opener, in the sense that it unhesitatingly ponders sex and deviations in the most expressive manner, and shows the audiences that the infamous Peeping Tom routine can actually be attributed to each and every one of us. After all, people find great pleasure in watching others from a safe place somewhere in the distance, don’t they?
Lloyd – the protagonist of the film – exemplifies the ‘bored’ generation. He doesn’t have any ambitions or certain goals in his life. Living in a peculiarly quiet and peaceful town, he spends every day working at a small shop, which specializes in repairing electronic devices. However, under cover of darkness he shows his true nature – ‘almost’ like James Stewart in Rear Window Lloyd grabs his precious binoculars and snoops on [mostly naked] women living across the street. Unfortunately, his perverted presence is detected. After a few strong insults and comparatively heavy punches Lloyd is forced to move out. For an overt deviant without any previous living references finding a new home isn’t that easy. And still, when Lloyd finally moves into a narrow yet cozy apartment, his neighbor gives him an offer he [rather] can’t refuse – $100,000 for spying on a disloyal wife. This awkward yet seemingly innocent proposition is the cause for Lloyd’s gradual plunge into the depths of sick and twisted madness. His growing affection for the woman turns out to be a quick way towards total chaos. One problem creates another one, and soon Lloyd finds himself on a path with no return.
Blending what’s best in Tarantino and Rodriguez’s dark humor, Pervertigo gives a credible amount of unforeseen and entertaining twists. The film only confirms that first impressions can be greatly misleading. Many people, perfectly normal on the outside, are capable of doing very sick and awful things. After a while it becomes clear that Lloyd – even given his affection towards peeping at other people’s intimate moments – is actually the most ordinary and the most innocent guy in the crowd of many twisted and insane characters that the viewers see onscreen. Here we have a lonely nerd who loves cosplaying and irritating others around him; a killer, whose only weakness is doo-woop music; a long-legged, beautiful blonde who loves to play perverted games; a repair-shop boss who is only interested in abusing others and picking up women; and finally, a mysterious and strange neighbor who loves eating snow cones every day.
Pervertigo not only makes one laugh, but also makes one think. Think about the omnipresence of perversity in the contemporary world, and the way this picture corresponds to people’s most hidden and demoralizing needs. What’s more, this satisfying crime-comedy plays a game with the idea of cinema in general – after all, it’s safe to say that watching films is a lot like watching others without the risk of being caught.