Demonlover review

:. Director: Olivier Assayas
:. Starring: Connie Nielsen, Chloë Sévigny
:. Running Time: 2:09
:. Year: 2002
:. Country: France


Diane de Monx (Connie Nielsen) works for Demonlover, a multinational corporation that specializes in virtual images. The negotiation of an important contract with a Japanese group, a pioneer of erotic manga, reveals her true activities: she is an infiltrated agent, engaged by a rival company. The stake of the negotiations relates to the repurchasing of the group Tokyo Animation, which shelters noxious pornographic sites. Diane will be taken with her own trap, and her colleagues appear as dangerous and corrupted as she is. She ends up in a cyber reality where she no longer has any control.

The idea of a film with industrial espionage and virtual worlds as a background is rather exciting in principal. The intentions of the director aree no less enthralling, since he proposes a reflection about image at a time of globalization.

Unfortunately, Olivier Assayas (Les Destinees Sentimentales, Irma Vep) builds an improbable plot with this initial framework. The scenario is as virtual as the world in which the characters of the film evolve. Too showy and filled with inconsistencies and esbroufes, the film isn't convincing and ends up being annoying after one too many loose ends in the narrative. Characters are poorly drawn and bathed in a light that reinforces their inconsistency. All is beautiful and perfect, starting with the actors of course, their clothes, the apartments and high tech hotels in which they wander, everything "zombified" by Assayas' camera which used to be more inspired and sensitive.

Admittedly, the director justifies this formal approach by calling upon the membership of his protagonists in a virtual world. Outside of the office they aren't grounded in any reality. The fact remains that Assayas never manages to go further than a simple observation, thus the film resembles what he denounces. We watch Demonlover like we would look at the glossy cover of a catalog in which the subjects lack any texture. The ending neither disturbs, nor distresses. The director was thus misled in a formal representation that does not generate any concern, while his goal was precisely to challenge audiences on the hot subject of the influence of multimedia on the masses. An all the more regrettable failure as we love the actresses he films: Chloë Sévigny and Gina Gerhson to start with. Too bad...

The Demonlover soundtrack was written by cult NY band Sonic Youth.

  Sandrine Marques

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