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While this film is an allegory for the lingering effects of fascism in the post capitalist world, it goes about illustrating its points in a terribly ineffective manner. This film overwhelms the audience with a relentless depiction repressive sexual behavior against minors. It appears, at times, the film does not relieve its assault of uncomfortable tension on the audience to illustrate that the emotions and thoughts of the audience will not have an effect on the outcome of the film. This is an allegory to events, such as The Holocaust, where the destruction was so widespread and systematic that those who witnessed it were powerless to stop it.
Though this is an excellent idea, the issues plaguing its execution are rather difficult to describe. Well made films, in this genre, can depict scenes that are difficult for the audience to watch, but cause the audience to glance back at the screen to view what is to occur next. A film devoid of a logical plot or any substantial character development, such as Salò, however, makes the audience turn their heads and continue to do so as they vacate the theater.
The only redeemable scene comes toward the end where, amidst the mass torture surrounding them, two guards lay down their weapons, turn on music and begin to dance. This is representative of the desensitization to these perverse events once individuals have accepted them as commonplace occurrences. This, in no way, atones for the unfortunate nature of the film.