Le Fidèle – Racer and the Jailbird (2017)

This is a strange one. I thought it had finished twice before it finally got there and found it a little all over the place in clarifying which strand of the narrative was important for plot and which was supposed to be exposition. And yet it was still very enjoyable.

I could hear some perplexed sighs as the end credits began, as it leaves the audience to work out for itself what might have happened at the end. But I don’t mind that.

Le Fidèle is directed by Michaël R. Roskam, who also directed Bullhead and The Drop, (both also featuring Matthias Schoenaerts), which will give you an idea of the general mood of the film. It’s therefore no surprise to discover that Schoenaerts’  character is very much ‘him’ – part Jacky from Bullhead, part Eric from The Drop – it’s right in his wheelhouse in other words, but he does it well.

This is the first time I’ve seen Adèle Exarchopoulos in anything since Blue is the Warmest Colour and I felt she was a little one dimensional. There is something about her face, attractive though it is, that seems to lack expression. Maybe it was the character that didn’t afford her the opportunity, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt (just).

There’s one scene, however, which was a real stand out and I’m dying to know if it was one shot. It certainly feels like it when you’re watching, as the camera circles vehicles and criminals, backwards and forwards, as they hijack a security van. If it isn’t one shot, then bravo to the editor. If it is, then wow.

Overall, an interesting idea which gets a little mixed up in the middle trying to sort itself out, ending intriguingly. But, Matthias Schoenaerts so all is well.

 

The Lobster

I adored this. And I am also incredibly sad having just watched it. I feel emotionally empty and also ridiculous in myself.

Colin Farrell is a revelation, and I never thought I would be saying that.

Just the tiniest bit irritated by the voiceover, but that’s nit-picking.

Jauja

Long takes, still camera and minimal dialogue. It’s all a bit Tarkovsky, but left me asking what and why, which generally isn’t the case with the Russian director, who is clearly a massive influence here. It has also has a definite Western vibe (yet another in 2015 – see here for others) and is framed like images on those View-Masters we had as children.

This film was on the most anticipated list, but left me disappointed. I wonder if Viggo Mortensen thought this was the film he was actually making?