A man returns home to Paris following the death of his brother-in-law, setting out on a quest of vengeance. When he sister suspect a seedy philanderer of being the murder, Marco creates an elaborate plot for revenge, which involves the man’s mistress in this eerie and sexy thriller.
Vincent London the determined man, a captain by professional, and he involves the beautiful Chiara Mastroianni inn his intricate plot.
A dark, gloomy night in Paris finds emergency services and police officer tending to a deceased man in the middle of a street. Elsewhere, a young woman walks naked down the street, traumatized and alone.
So begin Claire Denis’ startling and hypnotic revenge thriller, a detailed and curiously-woven tale of sex, deceit, and death. True to form, Denis plays with time, masterfully telling a story that ignores chronology, instead challenging the viewer to engage and speculate – and watch very carefully.
The deceased person is Jacques, a working class man ravaged with debt who has committed suicide. A month later, Jacques brother-in-law Marco arrives, and with plenty of time on his hands (he is on leave), he maddeningly crafts a plot of revenge, involving the man his sister Sandra believes to be the instigator – Edouard Laporte, to whom Jacque’s debt is owed – and a young mistress.
The confidence with which Denis directs, evident by the subtle clues she offers as well as intimate shots, puts you in a state of suspended terror throughout. She then follows Edouard, his mistress, Marco, Sandra, and her daughter through their respective lives, building towards dramatic meetings and a tense conclusion.
The gloomy atmosphere that begins the film continues, with the night only occasionally giving way to days filled with clouds and shades of gray. Everything creates an unnerved sensation, as Denis will startle with sex and violence that seems to come without warning. Especially provocative, this dreamy and engaging offering by Claire Denis is instantly gripping and effective.
Should You See It?
Playing at TIFF Lightbox, this art house entry from acclaimed French auteur Claire Denis is worth watching, and certainly a change from anything out in theatres at the moment. Catch it soon if you missed it at the festival last month.