It's really interesting to read all the gushing reviews of the film on this board. Interesting in that my experience watching this film last week at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) was completely the opposite. I haven't read the Joseph Conrad original so perhaps I needed to do so, to better appreciate the story.
Of the 18 films I've seen at the festival so far, I found this film to be the least personally engaging and most frustrating. Uninvolving story and unlikable lead characters coupled with a tedious pace completely annoyed me. A passionless marriage and the consequences of a single action were also clearly not enough to keep many from walking out of my session. My feeling was that the film would never have been included in the festival if not for the clout of Huppert and the fact that it was French. I found her performance irritating and lifeless - perhaps that was the point and I didn't appreciate it enough. I felt occasional moments of 'Last Year At Marienbad' when watching except that I really enjoyed that film unlike this one. If this had been an Australian made film, the knives would surely have been out, for "wasting tax payers money" etc in the press. Interesting to note in the now completed 2006 Sydney Film Festival that it ranked 25th with the audience vote in a field of 25 world cinema features screened. So clearly others have shared my pain.
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