EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|APARTMENT, THE (L'APPARTEMENT) (director/writer: Gilles Mimouni; cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast; editors: Caroline Bisgerstaff/Francoise Bonnot; music: Peter Chase; cast: Vincent Cassel (Max), Sandrine Kiberlain (Muriel), Romane Bohringer (Alice), Jean-Philippe Ecoffey (Lucien), Olivier Granier (Daniel), Monica Bellucci (Lisa); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Georges Benayoun; Lionsgate; 1996-France/Italy/Spain-in French with English subtitles)|
thriller that follows along the lines of Hitchcock."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The first feature film for
writer/director Gilles Mimouni is an enigmatic romantic
thriller that follows along the lines of Hitchcock,
and turns out to be quite a technical accomplishment.
It's a humdinger in plot twists, is suspenseful
throughout, is well-acted and cleverly executed. Think
stalking Kim Novak in ''Vertigo,'' and you mostly got
what this homage
to Hitchcock is spoofing.
Max (Vincent Cassel) is a young corporate
executive on the rise, who has just returned from NYC
to his Paris birthplace. In NYC he fell in love on the
rebound with Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain), the boss's
sister, and is about to present her with an engagement
ring. At a
cafe, Max has drinks with his boss and his Japanese
client and is set to fly to Tokyo on a business trip
when he hears the voice of Lisa (Monica Bellucci) coming
from a phone booth. She's the beautiful actress who
jilted him a few years ago and vanished. But Lisa is
out the door before he can reach her, and so Max
impulsively decides to search for his lost love rather
than go on the business trip and elicits the help of
his best friend Lucien (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey), the owner of a women's
shoe store. You know this is a French pic, because
matters of romance come before business.
flashbacks we learn in spurts about the flighty Max's
past affair with Lisa; in the present we observe Max
get elated when he thinks he locates Lisa, but she
turns out to be Alice (Romane Bohringer)--the lookalike from the
rear roommate of Lisa--who makes things more
perplexing by not telling Max that she's the one
Lucien has fallen madly in love with and other lies.
The love sick Alice now uses her vulnerability to
seduce the susceptible Max, someone she never met
before but always pined for. In the meantime Lisa is
in a heavy affair with the rich married man Daniel (Olivier Granier), an obsessive man so taken
with Lisa that he's capable of committing murder to
make sure he doesn't lose her.
In a seamless way Mimouni weaves together the past
and the present to offer us both a comical and
suspenseful narrative, with many twists and a shocker
ending--which is not entirely satisfying, but actually
makes sense because it follows what Mimouni was shooting for.
It was weakly remade
in America as Wicker Park (2004), starring a miscast
REVIEWED ON 8/3/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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