After the screening, what I wondered first and foremost is what the reactions to the movie would have been if they would have switched genders (or rather, if they wouldn’t have switched genders), with the men as perpetrators who kidnap an innocent woman, raping and torturing her, and so on. Which already brings us to my biggest complaint about “I Stay With You”: For me, just switching genders wasn’t enough to justify the movie, and/or to make it worthwhile.
Pretty much the only thing that I liked about it were the long scenes, which gave this a stage-like quality. Otherwise, though, there’s nothing of value to be found here. First and foremost, it suffers from a lack of a protagonist whom I could feel, care and root for. The cowboy is just an arbitrary victim and never really gets any personality at all (showing the movie from his perspective, and how he meets those girls in the bar, might have worked way better than trying to put us into the mind of the abusers), and since I’m not a psychopathic killer, I couldn’t really relate to the women either. The only character in here which might have had a chance to draw me in would have been Ana, who I guess was supposed to be a substitute for the audience, being thrown into this horrifying adventure with these crazy bitches. Actually, that kind of follower-thematic could have been really interesting. Dealing with the psychology of it all, and how you can be drawn into something like that, be it for fear of the others and what they might do to you if you don’t participate, a certain crazy bloodiness which takes hold of you like a contagious virus, or just because she’s lonely and she wants to be part of this pack of hyenas. Showing us how she slowly turns and gets drawn into this heinous act, could have been really interesting. Unfortunately, that’s not what they do. Instead, they totally drop the ball when it comes to her transformation from innocent bystander to active participant. In one scene she’s appalled, then she’s going out (presumably to drink), and when she comes back he insults her and totally out of the blue, she grabs a knife and cuts off his nipple. And with that, her transformation from sweet, innocent girl to sadistic crazy-ass bitch is complete. What the fuck? She does a complete 180°-turn, but it wasn’t understandable for me at all, and felt like there was a scene missing in between. The movie is further hurt by the fact that it renounces a classical 3-act-structure, and there also was no noticeable build-up of tension. The movie just drags along, and never managed to convey the horror of these proceedings to me. Ultimately, I found “I Stay With You” to be totally pointless.