Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: La Femme Du Veme
France/Poland/United Kingdom, 2011. Haut et Court, Film4, UK Film Council, SPI International, The Bureau, Canal+, Orange Cinema Series, Artificial Eye, Memento Films International, Coficup, Backup Films, Soficinéma 6, Polish Film Institute. Screenplay by Pawel Pawlikowski, based on the novel by Douglas Kennedy. Cinematography by Ryszard Lenczewski. Produced by Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta. Music by Max de Wardener. Production Design by Benoit Barouh. Costume Design by Julian Day, Shahida Day. Film Editing by David Charap. Toronto International Film Festival 2011.
Moody, creepy drama in which American Ethan Hawke shows up in Paris with the intent of reconciling with his French wife and being reunited with his daughter. Following the theft of all his belongings almost immediately upon his arrival, he takes up residence in a hovel of a rooming house run by a shady character, who eventually offers him an even shadier job working as doorman for what appears to be the criminal element. Attending a soiree, he meets a beautiful Romanian woman (Kristin Scott Thomas, divine as always) with whom he begins an affair, but time passes and eventually we begin to see lines of reality blur. Hawke’s character is, after all, a novelist…how much of what we are seeing is only in the imagination? Is this a yarn being spun by a storyteller, or is it a portrait of madness? It’s a quiet, confident piece of work, featuring strong direction and good performances, though director Pawlikowski’s desire to be Kieslowski is far too obvious and there is no doubt that he falls short. It is neither mysterious enough to be enchanting, nor is it comprehensible enough to be satisfying. Still, it has its moments.