|Beyond the obvious cultural and stylistic differences, there's a moment in Gilles Bourdos' latest film (the French psycho-thriller Inquiétudes) that radically separates it from it from its Hollywood counterpart (i.e., any one of the numerous Ashley Judd vehicles from the last few years.) Right after a character has been murdered, the killer (no spoilers here!) sits down and cries. The displaying of emotion (any emotion) after such an event has become so rare in this genre that even this minor moment stands out. It is the little nuances like this that show how Bourdos has transcended the standard thriller.|
The film is loosely based off the Ruth Rendell novel A Sight For Sore Eyes (the English title of the film) though the squalor of North London has been here replaced by Nice. The film centers around Bruno (played by Gregoire Colin, who Filmbrain thinks of as a French Keanu Reaves), an art student that is obsessed with white, primarily as a means of wiping clean the ugliness of his past. He meets up with Elise (Swiss model turned actress Julie Ordon) an eighteen year-old shoe store clerk who also suffers from a childhood trauma. Each sees in the other the very thing that they have been lacking. For Bruno, Elise's beauty is the perfect embodiment of his artistic dreams, whereas he represents both an escape from the pain of her past and the smothering she experiences from her father and stepmother. That their relationship is a perfect case of l'amour fou is evident from their first meeting, yet it's interesting how Bourdos brings two characters together that have had completely opposite (and perhaps unlikely) reactions to their individual traumas. The story is structured like a twisted fairy tale -- there's the captive princess, the wicked stepmother, and prince (not so) charming. Though Bourdos can be a bit heavy handed with his symbolic metaphors, the film is far from pretentious. An entertaining film that sadly has no distribution deal in the US (yet).