Love, Death & Robots: ‘The Dump’ Review

Still from Love, Death & Robots, The Dump

Wow, this is like the most insular entry in the series yet, it can only be understood by considering the context in which it is placed. The Dump was directed by Javier Recio Gracia from a script by Philip Gellat, this review contains spoilers.

Maybe The Dump is an articulation of the philosophy of this entire series. Everything has in it the potential to be trash, so why bother with respectability? Why not just lean into being garbage and allow yourself to become so repellent that anyone with taste will just leave you be.

It’s right there in the credits. The character with whom we’re supposed to identify is called ‘Ugly Dave’, and he wields the attitude like an axe. Of course he’s going to come off well against the agent of a gentrifying force that wants to evict him from his home but the film goes out of its way to make him as spiky as possible. Introducing him down the barrel of a gun, prominently displaying a sex doll in his house.

In fact, it goes even earlier than that. As ‘The Inspector’ makes his way through the dump admits the refuse we see discarded sex toys, decaying animals. The improbable towers of garbage invite us to interpret it as a psychological space, a dump of the mind. Full of all the shit that we as a society discard in the interest of good taste.

The meat of the film is Dave recounting to the man the tale of a night where he and a friend encountered a monster made from all the shit, as an attempt to dissuade him from claiming the land. The story involves porn magazines, defecation and a dude who spends most of his screentime running about with his dick out.

The monster is revealed not to be made out of the the contents of the dump, but a living manifestation of the thing itself. ‘Anything it consumes becomes a part of it.’  he realises after discovering a still living dog corpse inside.  As is his way, he is not repulsed by the monstrosity and adopts it as a pet, the film ends shortly after the flashback finishes — it arrives and eats the inspector.

As the man dies Dave takes his lighter and throws away a broken one. If you live in a dump, anything you need will find its way to you eventually. The man is a walking argument for the show’s trash-thetic, if everything you’ve seen up to this point has appeared gross and crass and unnecessary, fuck off normies, we’re living in it and critics get ate.

Still wondering about the purpose of the metastasised garbage. Does it represent the anthology itself? Some sorta insecurity on the part of the producers, they’d thrown these ideas out to different studios to become something that they didn’t quite have control over? Something they love that’s a strange amalgam of all these disparate parts?

Coming halfway through the anthology it feels like an excuse, preemptively blaming a potential audience of detractors for not approaching it with the right mindset. It’s an uncomfortably nihilistic film, as all that seem to despise their audience want to be. Even the choice to cast a pantsless man must be made more of by not giving him pubes and consistently shooting from below waist level.

‘If you think this is cheap then fuck you.’ it seems to be shouting. Whatever, I’ve not changed my mind yet. Though I’ll admit, if you wanted a description of how this is going, The Dump is a pretty good one.

Love, Death & Robots is currently streaming on Netflix.

Two Stars
Image courtesy of Netflix

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