Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I Live For A Living.

Another day, another ex-Cahiers du Cinema writer, Nouvelle Vague founder member. While we've played around with Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, today we're touching on someone often thought of as the ultimate father of the movement, Claude Chabrol (this is an extremely arguable claim, by the way, but we're not here to discuss history. In fact, we're not even going to look at one of his films from the period in question, instead drifting back merely three years to 2007.)

The Girl Cut In Two stars two young actors who have only recently appeared on this blog, Ludivine Sagnier (in Swimming Pool) and Benoît Magimel (from The Piano Teacher.) Sagnier plays Gabrielle, a television weather reporter and the object of the affections of both celebrated older author Charles Saint-Denis (François Berléand) and young playboy Paul (Magimel.) Charles is a bit of a whore, married to one woman, seeing Gabrielle on the side, going to a variety of sex clubs. Paul is a bit of a pig, not doing anything with his life except relying on the fortune he is set to inherit, arrogant and cocksure. Gabrielle is in the middle, flattered by both attentions, though the one she really wants is Charles. Charles, however, once he has her, uses her as a pawn in his game before discarding her, unwilling to bring her into his life when he is otherwise perfectly happily married. Paul, meanwhile, won't give up, begging for her hand, promising the world. But this love for Gabrielle, or desire, or whatever, doesn't end in happiness for either Paul, Charles or the beautiful Gabrielle.

It's a nice film, albeit somewhat bland. It doesn't feel anywhere near as exciting as I feel it could, coming from someone with the pedigree of Chabrol. It was feels quite run of the mill for the most part, bolstered by strong performances from the leads that are nonetheless playing somewhat distant and dislikable characters, quite alienating the viewer from the emotions of the characters - in fact, other than a period of Gabrielle's devastation, it is damned hard to see any real emotion from the characters. Even Paul, who seems to wear his heart on his sleeve, often seems insincere, as though he has ulterior motives - which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

This isn't to say it's a bad film. It is quite entertaining to watch, the film compels your attention and keeps moving forwards. It's just a bit average, a bit run of the mill. There isn't anything here that particularly grabs your attention and emotion. It spends a perfectly pleasant couple of hours in front of you and then disappears again. 2.5 stars.

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