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Home Vision Entertainment presents
She's One of Us (2003)

"People have often taken me for an idiot."
- Christine (Sasha Andres)

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: February 13, 2006

Stars: Sasha Andres, Catherine Mouchet, Carlo Brandt, Eric Caravaca
Director: Siegrid Alnoy

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nudity, sexual situations, language, adult themes, violence
Run Time: 01h:42m:47s
Release Date: February 14, 2006
UPC: 014381296921
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BA-B+ B

DVD Review

How do we fit into our environment? Specifically, our work environment? What do we do when we don't fit in? What must we do to make ourselves fit in? Such are some of the questions asked by Siegrid Alnoy's She's One of Us (Elle est des notres), a chilly attack on the working world through the eyes of a disturbed woman. Christine Blanc (Sasha Andres), as befitting her name, is a cypher, a vacuum of a human being floating from temp job to temp job, always doing excellent work but failing to connect on any more human level that would gain her a permanent position. As the film begins, Christine is trying to strike up a friendship, or possible romance, with her temp agency rep, Patricia (Catherine Mouchet). Christine feigns interest in Patricia's hobby, and things look to be going well, but things go horribly wrong when Patricia drags Christine along to a swimming pool. Christine brutally kills Patricia after being accidentally shoved in the pool, and coincidentally gets offered a permanent position at her latest gig shortly after the murder. When the police investigation targets her as a suspect, Christine's newfound confidence is put to the test.

The natural conclusion is that murder brings out Christine's true potential for success within the business world, as she morphs from a sluggish, empty-eyed drone into a hardcase manager, berating employees who displease her and feeling no reluctance to use sex to get her way. For all her confidence however, Christine remains little more than a disturbed child, something she herself admits in a lunchtime chat with the detective pursuing her (Carlo Brandt). He's just as internally dead as she, perhaps explaining his attraction to her. For the most part however, Alnoy doesn't have much else to say about the workplace. Christine's co-workers are portrayed as typical office types, enjoying their time at the bar and their gossip. Christine has nothing beyond her job, and her hobby amounts to little more than sitting at the mall and staring at people who actually have lives.

Alnoy's style is quite arresting; she uses long, static shots to underline the stasis and utter lack of growth within Christine and her surroundings. Some of these shots make the viewer uncomfortable, some seem simply ill-chosen. When Christine and new boyfriend Eric (Eric Caravaca) climb into a tub to celebrate their engagement, Alnoy holds the shot of the two of them motionless, visible only naked below the waist, for what seems like an eternity. When they finally embrace, the effect of hiding their faces is one of clinical detachment, with the participants themselves included in that feeling. The scene in which Christine kills Patricia is even more uncomfortable, as Alnoy forces us to watch Patricia writhing in agony on the floor, screaming horribly, for a good minute, before having Christine edge into the shot to stop her. Alnoy also often frames figures with heads cut off by the frame, another means of indicating the lack of personality within the working world.

Alnoy demonstrates this lack of personality by having her co-workers act completely oblivious to her lack of real emotion; when Christine wins a small jackpot from a scratch-off lottery card, the subsequent celebration with her co-workers sees Christine sit blank-faced, occasionally cracking the hint of a dead smile every so often. Andres is marvelous as the vacant Christine, painting a portrait of a truly disturbed woman that is rather disconcerting to watch. The rest of the cast performs well within roles underwritten presumably, to emphasize their lack of character. I was left generally unconvinced by the film, given that lack of balancing on the other side of the equation—we only see things from Christine's point of view, and she's hardly a legitimate window to criticize the world of the office.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and looks quite good, with perhaps a slightly higher grain level than some may like. Otherwise, I saw no evidence of edge enhancement, and the picture is clean and free of defects. Very nice.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 track are on offer; I watched the film with the 5.1 track, and it's fairly unobtrusive, with not too much use of the surrounds, beyond some general atmospherics. A sampling of the 2.0 tracks indicated that either will do nicely.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
8 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
Packaging: test disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Nos Enfants, a short film by Alnoy
Extras Review: Some decent material here; a lengthy if patience-testing making-of (34m:32s) uses silent footage of the production to look at how the film was made. Frankly, it's fairly boring, at least in terms of learning about the background of the film. A collection of deleted scenes (35:09s) is selectable either singly or en masse, and each prefaced by a chapter screen with the title of the scene. Often, these feature footage used in the finished film that the cut footage is edited into. Some are vaguely disturbing, some relatively forgettable. Only one scene would have been better left in the film, as it explained a moment in the finished film that appears to be complete nonsense without this cut footage preceding it. The deleted scenes are presented in a letterboxed 4:3 format. A short film by Alnoy, Nos enfants (05m:31s) includes Andres and Roussel as part of a trio of women who turn out not be what they seem.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

An absorbing, sometimes hard to watch film, She's One of Us pushes viewers farther than they might wish to go. It's all stylishly done, if somewhat self-contradictory at times. The DVD is excellent however, with a quality representation of the film to go with some lengthy extras.

 


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