Contradictions abound in Ms. 45, the most prominent of which is director Abel Ferrara’s ambiguous stance toward his pistol-packing female avenger. A mute seamstress working in NYC’s garment district, Thana (the incomparable Zoë Lund), after being raped twice in one afternoon, goes on a murderous rampage against the city’s entire male population. That the first, masked attacker is played by Ferrara himself speaks to the director’s own complicated role in Thana’s transformation into an angel of death – does his presence indicate his vindictive feelings toward his anti-heroine? Or does it reveal his guilt over contributing, as a heterosexual man, to her feminine fury? And further confusing Ferrara’s ostensibly empowering “woman scorned” story is that Thana’s killings are frequently unwarranted (especially with a sidewalk catcaller and the climactic scene’s disguised partygoers), thereby exposing her to be less interested in justified vengeance than sadistic carnage. His taut mise-en-scène light years beyond that of The Driller Killer, Ferrara casts his Manhattan locale as a grungy coliseum in which aggressive chauvinists and bitchy broads engage in full-scale gender warfare (scored to the punctuating blares of nerve-jangling horns). Given the filmmaker’s intense Catholicism, it’s no surprise that Thana eventually finds herself going bloody bonkers in a nun’s costume. But it’s the myriad compositions layered with undercurrents of divisive male-female relations – such as the close-up sight of Thana’s icy cold countenance set against a men’s room door – that eventually give Ms. 45 its sexy, squalid dynamism.