Friday, May 26, 2006

LEMMING - Another day, another disappointing movie

It seems like all I watch these days are film that are not so much bad as disappointing. From X-MEN 3 to THE KING, I watch films with actors, directors and production teams that I admire, but which fail to engage or excite. Today's offering is a French supernatural revenge thriller called LEMMING. The movie is a four-hand piece set in contemporary France. We are introduced to a young couple called Alain and Benedicte Getty. They are a "model couple" living in a nice suburb. The husband works for a high-tech company that makes fancy kit for monitoring one's own house - little flying webcams to spot leaks and such. He finds a lemming in the drain. This being a moody French film, that is a Significant Fact. Alain and Benedicte become entangled with Alain's oleagnious, whoremongering boss Richard, and his veangeful wife, Alice. The film unfurls at length into a supernatural thriller which I found dull, dull, dull. It was never spooky, never scary. Neither the script nor the camerawork created any tension or paranoia. The symbolism - spy-cams and suicidal lemmings - was hamfisted. The nightmare scene elicited unintended laughter. As for the ending, we are given an attempt at a tantalising enigma. But it is not a par with the final frames of that outstanding movie, HIDDEN/CACHE. The film fails badly and this is all the more pitiful considering that is directed by French wunderkind, Dominik Moll, and stars four great actors. Alain is played by Laurent Lucas - the actor who played cabaret-singer Marc Stevens in the superb Belgian horror flick, CALVAIRE. His wife Benedicte is played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who played JANE EYRE in the outstanding Zeffirelli production and also featured in 21 GRAMS. Andre Dusollier plays the lecherous old Pollock - an actor I'll always remember for his similarly creepy performance in UN COEUR EN HIVER. Finally, the iconic Charlotte Rampling plays his veangeful wife, Alice. What a waste.

LEMMING opened Cannes 2005. It is at the fag-end of its super-limited UK release and at the start of a limited US release. It opens in Germany on July 13th 2006. I do not know of an Austrian or Australian
release date.

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