Calling to mind controversial films like Gaspar Noé's Irreversible
(2002) or Harmony Korine's Gummo
(1997) and Kids
(1995), The Tribe
can be construed by some as a film of senseless depravity. Over the course of two hours, it is unrelenting as it bleakly follows the lives of an isolated group of deaf-mute schoolchildren that perpetuate a hierarchical system of bullying, violence, and prostitution within the confines of their school and its adjacent living quarters. The film boasts proudly that no spoken words and no subtitles are necessary to convey its themes of love and hate -- and in this regard, The Tribe
is, from the get-go, unlike any other. Bold and polarizing, it wordlessly pulls one deep into its trenches, fictionalizing teenage depravity in the cold, rough climate of post-Soviet Ukraine.