Bit (2019)

Director: Brad Michael Elmore
Writer: Brad Michael Elmore
Cast: Diana Hopper, Nicole Maines, Zolee Griggs, Friday Chamberlain, Char Diaz, James Paxton, Greg Hill
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 21.9.2019

Laurel (Nicole Maines) just finished high school and doesn’t yet know what comes next. But she will be spending the summer with her brother Mark (James Paxton) in LA. Once she arrives there, she meets Izzy (Zolee Griggs) and through Izzy, Duke (Diana Hopper). She leaves Mark and goes off clubbing with the women, only to wake the next morning and find bite marks on her neck. Now Laurel has to decide whether to join the all-female vampire crew and fight against men.

Bit claims to be queer feminist and that’s just not the case. If feminist-baiting is a thing, this film is it. It does have some nice ideas, but overall it was a little disappointing for me.

The film poster showing a drawings of the main characters in blue with some red overtones.

Bit was announced to be a queer feminist movie with a transgender protagonist. While it is certainly true that Nicole Maines is trans and there are some cryptic remarks in the film that hint at Laurel’s transness, the film never makes it really explicit. Given that Maines is cis passing and coupled with the fact that the storyline hinges on Duke’s binary assertion that men just aren’t fit to wield power, it feels very weird that Laurel was never really acknowledged as trans – and it doesn’t feel like very good representation either.

Things are even more complicated with the film’s claim to be queer feminist: a few conventionally beautiful women making out with each other doesn’t make a queer feminist film – not even when they are hunting men. Especially when that hunt isn’t actually a focus of the film. But most of all, the film just ignored the radical nature of queer feminism and all the changes it actually calls for. It just remains shallow, is not intersectional in the slightest and overall feels like a calculated attempt to use feminist discourse to seem somehow hip. The final nail in the coffin of any feminist message the film might send were the credits in the end when it becomes obvious that most of the people behind the camera are men. That’s not feminism, my dudes.

Laurel (Nicole Maines) with a bloody mouth and a bloody heart in her hands.

I probably wouldn’t be looking so critically at the film if it hadn’t made the bold claim of being queer feminist. If I disregard that fact, what remains is a film that is mostly pretty cute. I liked the characters, though they often remain rooted in stereotypes and Laurel’s backstory, as I mentioned, remained unclear for me. Plus, what she does with her best friend Andy (Matt Pierce) is completely not okay and the film doesn’t really acknowledge that at all. It just doesn’t care what happens to Andy.

Choosing Vlad (Greg Hill) as a representation for the entirety of patriarchy was a nice idea, but overall, it never really moved past “pretty okay” as a film. I was really hoping for more. Maybe someday.

Duke (Daina Hopper) with a bloody mouth.

Summarizing: Okay.

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