The classic mystery plot of this film has a Hitchcockian vibe to it: Is something really happening at the clinic? And if so, who is responsible? Our protagonist is a retired cop struggling with Alzheimer. Although the treatment is much different, this reminds of classics like Rear Window.
André Dussollier gives a masterful performance as the vulnerable but still feisty Charles Boyer. Confined to a clinic, Boyer must battle both his illness as well as rules and The Residence's personnel to figure out what exactly is going on here. Dussolier is both touching and commanding in the role and is the reason we are drawn to the fairly conventional plot.
The parallels to Hitchcock stop there, because of Nicolas Boukhrief's story and direction. Actor Dussollier is pretty much left on his own to convey the confusion of Alzheimer, something a director like Hitchcock, Polanski, Nolan or even Mangold would have greatly helped with. Most of the characters gravitating around Charles are a little too raw, especially considering the main mystery plot moves slowly. Even considering the limitation of the direction, I feel a more elegant resolution would have raised the score by 1 or 2 points for me. It all feels like it unfolds a little artificially.
I was still fascinated by Dussollier and his character Boyer and since I love mystery movies, I greatly enjoyed Cortex. If you enjoy this genre and are tired of muscular and pin-up type protagonists, give this movie a try.
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