Lemming review

:. Director: Dominik Moll
:. Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laurent Lucas
:. Running Time: 1:35
:. Year: 2005
:. Country: France

The latest opus from the Moll- Merchant duo (and a vague remake of Lost Highway), Lemming is a French film that would desperately like to be something else. Anything but French. Overwrought, overwritten, psychological to the core: in short, a failed attempt. French to the death, Lemming proves its foreign-sounding title wrong. Dominik Moll's latest film should really have been called "Guinea-pig". As for the rest of it, there's some good mainstream cinema.

Everything is sealed under a "French quality" stamp of approval, hardly covering for the truly irritating pretentious aspirations of its author.

Two couples are dining together. Laurent Lucas, a young engineer, and his model wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg), receive André Dussolier, a first class boss, accompanied by his at-the-very-least strange, cold and sepuchral wife (Charlotte Rampling), her face hidden behind dark glasses. She is also oversymbolic, (and a bit rough): death on the move, by which the film will take a sudden turn for the fantastic, via the appearance of the famous lemming, the metaphorical Scandinavian rodent, wedged in a drain...

The film does nothing other than cut out the intentionally anxiety-filled ensemble in sequences of trouble, where each character will have time to show off a certain savoir-faire in speeches about the couple, desire and death, and even about our society when surveillance steps on private lifeā€¦..it says a lot, certainly, but badly.

For example, how can you inspire dread, when the characters are invariably showed in close shots, so that the frame is never sufficiently big enough to let danger come through? A small lesson about suspense: for the character being threatened, fear is proportional to the space which remains to be covered... it's the alpha and omega of a B-movie. But to usurp the Frenchiness of his medium shots by means of a detour into a Lynchian nightmare, Moll only succeeds in diluting his beautiful blue image into a tacky melodrama.

  Sébastien Bénédict
  Translated into English by Anji Milanovic

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