Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Best?

Hidden (or Caché) has been popping up on Best Of the '00s lists since they first started appearing a couple of months back - it topped the UK Times list, as you may remember.

Do I think it's the best film of the last ten years? No. Don't get me wrong, it is a damn good film. But I don't even think it's Michael Haneke's best film of the '00s (that would be The Piano Teacher, or La Pianiste - and how obstreperous can I be? That's three posts in a row where I've disagreed with a widely held view as to a director's best film. Geez, get a grip. All this railing against the mainstream mould ain't gonna get you nowhere.)

Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche star (and much love is sent from me to both their fabulous souls) in another very grown-up thriller, each of them offering up riveting portrayals of their own half of a couple beset by fear of... what, exactly, we're not entirely sure. Auteuil plays Georges Laurent, a television presenter, with Binoche playing his wife Anne. They begin to receive strange videos, left on their doorstep, showing simply them. The first, for example, is a shot of the outside of their house, filmed for a couple of hours, showing nothing much more than the activity on the street, and the Laurent's leaving the house to go to work. That's it.

Gradually, however, the videos start probing in Georges' life. Into his past. They go to the police, but the police say they can't do anything until this person actually tries to do something to them, physically. So the two (and their grumpy teenage son) are left struggling to come to terms with a stalker who may or may not be dangerous, with no idea how to make it stop. Georges ends up stumbling on a theory after one of the videos, but his explorations of the possibility ends in tragedy, in one of the most powerful scenes I've seen in a while. The films ends, but leaves you wondering if it really has.

Hidden is a truly gripping film. It holds you in its beautiful framing and perfect tension without issue. The two magnetic and very talented stars keep you fearful and caring. Nary a foot is put wrong. And I don't really want to talk much more about it, because I don't want to start giving things away - I already fear I have let on too much. 4.5 stars.

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