Studio: IFC Films
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Thomas Dumerchez, Guy Marchand, Elodie Bouchez, Elli Medeiros, Adrien Jolivet
Director: Gael Morel
Release Date: August 9, 2009, 6:14 pm
Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:31m:48s
ìThe police just called me. Your brotherís been in a car accident.î - Camille (Catherine Deneuve)
Movie Grade: B
DVD Grade: C-
There are some situations in life that simply no one should have to face, regardless of how ìgoodî or ìbadî a person they are. One such situation is receiving a phone call from the police, informing you that your child is dead. As a parent, I canít possibly think of a worse scenario to have to face, but the protagonist in GaÎl Morelís 2007 film AprËs Luis is faced with such devastation a mere five minutes after we meet her. Fortunately for Morel, he has Catherine Deneuve playing said protagonist in his film, and, as always, this screen legend gives a performance that, while not exactly among the best in her filmography, is reason enough to give AprËs Luis a look.
Mathieu (Adrien Jolivet) and Franck (Thomas Dumerchez) are on their way out for the night to party with some friends. Mathieuís mother, Camille (Deneuve), is clearly thrilled to see her son and his friend happy, saying good bye to the both of them, wishing them well on their night of fun. Hours later, she receives a call from the police, informing her that Mathieu and Franck had been in a car accident and her son was dead. When she discovers that Franck was behind the wheel during the accident, Camille befriends him, even when the rest of the family clearly blames him for Mathieuís death. As Camille and Franck become closer, the reasoning behind her pursuit of such a relationship becomes clearer, and the consequences tow the fine line of being extremely dangerous and soul affirming.
For a film with a depressing subject and heavy on dialogue, the story is moved along rather quickly, and surprisingly so. In fact, at the hour mark it donned on me that things might be moving along too quickly. However, thatís when the relationship between Camille and Franck really takes the film over, and elevates it to new heights. This is one of those movies that toys with going down a certain road to creepiness that could be unparalleled if handled incorrectly. While I wonít spoil whether it does, indeed, go down that road, rest assured that in the capable hands of Morel, the film is full of class and heart, and is an excellent trip to the cinematic art house.
The always-amazing Ms. Deneuve delivers another unforgettable performance here, bringing her remarkable skills to a role that could have easily been mishandled by another actor. Sheís played a woman who is descending into madness/clinical depression before (see Roman Polanskiís Repulsion for a great example of such a role), but the character of Camille is a complex, multi-layered challenge. Itís impossible to believe that Catherine Deneuve is 66- years-old, as she is still among the most beautiful women in the world, and her acting skills have not slipped a bit. Unfortunately, IFC Filmsí DVD release is far from praise-worthy. Despite fine audio and video presentations, the only extra feature is a short trailer for a film that deserved a bit more respect on U.S. home video.
Chuck Aliaga August 9, 2009, 6:14 pm