À TOUT DE SUITE(director/writer: Benoît Jacquot; screenwriter: from the memoir When I Was 19 by Elisabeth Fanger; cinematographer: Caroline Champetier; editor: Luc Barnier; cast: Isild Le Besco (Lili), Ouassini Embarek (Bada), Nicolas Duvauchelle (Alain), Laurence Cordier (Joelle), Emmanuelle Bercot (Laurence); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Georges Benayoun/Raoul Saada; Cinema Guild, The; 2004-France-in French with English subtitles)
“Stylish but pointless and bland romantic thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Benoît Jacquot (“Sade”/”Seventh Heaven”) directs and writes this stylish but pointless and bland romantic thriller À Tout de Suite, which translates as Right Now. It’s filmed in a sleek dreamy luminous shade of black and white, and is based on the memoir When I Was 19 by Elisabeth Fanger. It looks all too familiar as left over retro scraps from the French New Wave, and I might add was done much better before.
It’s set in 1975. Lili (Isild Le Besco) is a bored 19-year-old Parisian art student living with her wealthy parents in their spacious apartment. She visits a Belleville dive and falls in love on first sight with a cute laconic Moroccan boy, Bada (Ouassini Embarek), who turns out to be a small-time bandit; She sleeps with lover boy and a few nights later he calls from the middle of a botched bank job, where one of their members was killed as well as the cashier. He tells of taking hostages, and when the police allow him to leave to free the hostages he turns up at her place with his surviving crime partner Alain (Nicolas Duvauchelle). She agrees to go on the lam with the confused killer and his more violent partner and his partner’s middle-class girlfriend (Laurence Cordier), first in Spain, then Morocco, and finally Greece, where her trip takes a surprising turn for the worse and she gets a rude awakening of what she’s done and must return to Paris to face the consequences for her ill-advised actions.
Since she’s no Anna Karina but as inert as her dull-witted lover boy, and the dreary adventure tale failed to be of any interest– the comeuppance for the bourgeois gal meant little. No one in the film is articulate, and I could feel no sympathy for her or her sullen and confused criminal partner. It tries to get away with selling 19 as an age where girls can easily mistake lust for love and therefore make big dumb mistakes, though it’s hard to believe than anyone with a moral compass or even an ounce of common sense couldn’t detect at that ripe age that there’s something not right about running away with a wanted criminal stranger just because you hate your parents and the guy’s a stud.
REVIEWED ON 3/1/2007 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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