The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 9, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Duchess of Langeais," it is 1823 and Marquis de Montriveau(Guillaume Depardieu) finally locates Antoinette(Jeanne Balibar), the former Duchess of Langeais, in a convent in Cadiz. Five years previously, they meet at a salon given by Clara de Serizy(Anne Cantineau). At the time, he is a military hero who had been held captive in Africa for two years. And it may be for that reason that she is intrigued by him, even though he is something of a dullard. After their first evening together, she hands him an open invitation to return anytime. At which point, he is convinced that she will become his mistress.(There is a Duke of Langeais but he is never seen.)[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"The Duchess of Langeais," a relatively brief film from Jacques Rivette, is a pointed look at the aristocracy, in its ascendancy following the fall of Napoleon. With little to do during the day, all they are left with to fill their time are social engagements and balls. And it may be for this very reason that Langeais leads along Montriveau. Remember, a duchess trumps a marquis and rank is everything. For the marquis, an imperialist officer, conquest is everything.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]But the human element is missing. And I think that is definitely due to the performances which are key in any predominantly two person drama.(Remember "Gabrielle" and "Miss Julie"(1999) for instance.) Depardieu is satisfactory enough but Balibar is definitely lacking. Old pros like Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier show the youngsters how it is done.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2010
Unfortunately this is the end for Guillaume Depardieu and it isn't as polished as other period pieces that I am more taken with.
January 3, 2009
[font=Georgia][color=black][b]'Eagle Eye'[/b][/color][/font]
[font=Georgia][color=black]Loopy, preachy, stiff -- cool car crashes though. Did director D.J. Caruso really feel like that last scene was necessary? What a thoughtless, give-up, [i]Return of the Jedi[/i] ending that was, yuck.[/color][/font]

[b][font=Georgia][color=black]'Ghost Town'[/color][/font][/b]
[font=Georgia][color=black]Gervais and Leoni are charming, it's genuinely funny in a classy way, never cheap. The dialogue can become a plate-spinning, "Who's on first?" routine, but it's usually in good fun -- pretty underrated, good comedy.[/color][/font]

[b][font=Georgia][color=black]'The Duchess of Langeais'[/color][/font][/b]
[font=Georgia][color=black]A straight-laced literary adaptation and all that that implies -- burrowing, meditative, self-serious, ocassionally beautiful. A tough sit for most at 140 minutes, but a superior work to [i]The Other Boelyn Girl[/i] and [i]The Duchess[/i] -- films looking more for costume nominations than anything else.[/color][/font]
½ August 12, 2008
this story is amazing and the action is first rate and yes the filmaking is top notch but, but this movie bored me at times and it is because it is just not that interesting
½ April 2, 2008
Very playful but also quite stuffy and theatrical. I guess Rivette was trying to show how society's romantic rituals are nothing more than theatrics but I don't care for any of its characters. It's like what the Last Mistress would have been if it was focused on the battle of wills between its characters instead of lust.
½ March 14, 2008
A compelling movie but very, very slow. If you're looking for a hot romance like the way it is described- you will be very disappointed. I didn't like the ending but it was a French movie and not an American one.
½ July 3, 2013
Literate adaptation but slow-moving and overlong.
July 21, 2012
How anyone could rate this movie higher then zero stars is beyond me. The slowest, stupidest, most lame movie I've seen in a long time. A complete waste of time- I only managed to watch the entire 138 minutes because I was sick in bed. Depardieu probably can act, given the chance. The rest of the cast looked like a bad high school play. The editing was so idiotic, silent film technics were used throughout the film to give you a sense of passing time. Like: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch" white text against a black background. I could go on.... view this one as a bad joke if you're desperate enough to watch it.
½ October 14, 2011
Long and frustrating, but intoxicating for some reason. A romance of completely unconsummated love.
September 11, 2011
I'm sure Balzac would have loved this adaptation of his work but the acting was much too melodramatic for my liking. Jeanne Balibar spends her whole time swooning and collapsing onto sofas and Guillaume Depardieu drove me mad as he clacked around on his wooden leg with his floppy hair. The film was far, far too long....
½ May 31, 2011
An elegant tale chronicling the complex and failed love affair between a married duchess and a decorated army officer. Rivette films the action beautifully with a camera that floats through the room, while unfolding the story in a subtle manner. Most interesting in the film is the duchess' choosing of religion as death to escape her fatally flawed relationship. What is for many a choice to a fuller kind of life becomes for her a means of ushering in her death.
½ June 19, 2008
Highbrow, theatrical two-hander about a cat and mouse relationship between a blustery general and a coquettish duchess in 1820s Paris. The emotional violence is portrayed brilliantly but the critical scenes lack focus.
½ November 23, 2010
I do enjoy some period pieces, but this one not so much :(
October 4, 2010
After watching The Duchess of Langeais I was unsure whether I just watched a terrific minimalist film or the excitement equivalent of viewing over 2 hours of the fireplace channel. Yes, there are plenty of fires with the wood cracking, so this film is a must for pyros. However, the story itself concerns a married duchess and her almost affair with an aristocratic French officer. The two meet, flirt, then one denies the other. The sexual frustrations are felt throughout by characters and viewer alike. Certainly a mockery of bourgeois morals, The Duchess of Langeais is beautiful to look at, but still somewhat empty.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2010
Unfortunately this is the end for Guillaume Depardieu and it isn't as polished as other period pieces that I am more taken with.
½ October 16, 2009
L'ennui dans ce film, c'est que la realisation de Rivette, sobre, avec du recul, de la contemplation, de la distance, appelez cela comme vous voulez, ne soutient guere la passion, la frustration, les elans des personnages ; les deux acteurs sont bons, mais ils ne peuvent pas tout tout seuls.
½ July 22, 2009
Started well and then took so long to go nowhere. Disappointing. Based on Balzac? Maybe.
June 28, 2009
Slow and seductive. The colors here are so rich and sumptuous that they both distance the viewer from the movie, letting one appreciate the meticulous technical aspects of the film, and draw the viewer in so that one wants to drown in them (and the passions they represent). In some ways a very old story about society's conventions crippling a couple's ability to be together--but told playfully, with intertitles reminiscent of a silent movie but also serving to comment on and fill out the story. An intellectual treat.
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