Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Switzerland/France/Belgium, 2008. Box Productions, Archipel 35, Need Productions, France 3 Cinéma, Télévision Suisse-Romande, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, Eurimages, Office Fédéral de la Culture, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, CinéCinéma, Cinémage 2, Soficinéma 3. Scenario by Ursula Meier, Antoine Jaccoud, Raphaelle Desplechin, Gilles Taurand, Olivier Lorelle, collaboration with Alice Winocour. Cinematography by Agnes Godard. Produced by Denis Delcampe, Denis Freyd, Thierry Spicher, Elena Tatti, Isabelle Truc. Production Design by Atanas Cherkezov. Costume Design by Catherine Van Bree. Film Editing by Francois Gedigier, Nelly Quettier, Susana Rossberg.
Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet head a family of five who live in a small house beside an unfinished, abandoned highway. Their life proceeds in an orderly, small-town fashion until one day, without much warning, everything changes. Workers show up to complete the road, and suddenly it is a majory artery with thousands of cars driving by their kitchen window day and night. The effect that this constant noise and imminent danger has is both a psychological intrusion and a physical one. Eventually the situation takes a toll on their ability to live their daily life as Huppert struggles to shut out the sound, her one daughter does her best to get away while her other daughter becomes a paranoid hypochondriac. Ursula Meier makes a message-laden, symbol-heavy film that never feels like a sermon; despite the fact that there are allegories abounding everywhere, the fine performances, especially from the lead couple, and the powerful visuals make it feel fresh and compelling throughout.