16 June 2000 | jameswtravers
An ambiguous, confused and relentlessly gloomy thriller
Whilst this film does occasionally impress in a few scenes, it is overwhelmingly a major disappointment. The plot is faintly ridiculous, although it might just have been possible, given the right mood and the right actors, to convince the audience that a woman can fall for the murderer of her boyfriend. The trouble is that the film does not seem to have either the right mood or the right actors, and the end result is rather like an unconvincing melee of film noire out-takes.
The acting is noticeably below par throughout, particularly from the lead characters Adjani and Depardieu - all the more surprising that both are now recognised as actors of no mean standing in France. The chemistry between the two lead characters just doesn't feel right, and it looks as if Téchiné made a great error of judgement to cast Depardieu in the role of both Samson and his killer. Certainly, Depardieu makes little effort to differentiate the two characters except by wearing a wig and, as a result, the underlying premise of the plot is lost completely.
However, it is the general mood of the film that is the most irritating aspect of this film. It is just so relentlessly grim and dark that it seems to stifle the plot and imbue the moments of great tension with an air of third-rate melodrama.
It is difficult to believe that, with such a wealth of talent on both sides of the camera, such a film could have failed so badly to hit its mark.