The plot, if one can call it that, revolves around several people who work for a few different companies. One is TokyoAnime, who specialize in animation and manga; the second is the titular Demonlover, a website where people can watch hentai; and the third is Mangatronics, Demonlover's primary competitor. There's also a torture site called Hellfire Club which may or may not be run on the sly by Demonlover. I suppose that last site could have made for a more graphic and explicit film if they'd chose to focus on that, but no, all you get is a dull slog about corporate spying among companies who just happen to deal with some rather sleazy stuff. However, there's only really one scene where you get to see exactly what this content is and a lot of it is blurred out.
Moving on, the acting in this movie was passable although it's not what I would consider great by any means. Connie Nielsen and Gina Gershon, in her limited screen time, come off the best but mostly because their characters were the least annoying. Another major fault of this movie is writing. Aside from a lack of coherence in the general storyline, the characters are all varying degrees of unsympathetic and, at times, grating to the ears. Chloe Sevigny is probably the worst offender, as there are scenes where she'll lurch from calm and sedate to bitchy and screechy without much motivation or reason. On the whole, there is not a likeable character to be found and the confusing plot didn't do them any favors at all.
On a technical level I can sort of give this a pass because it was low-budget, so it wasn't too unexpected that most of the film was shot up-close and handheld. Most of the time, they gave you enough of a look at what was happening so that it wasn't visually disorienting. Still, there are a couple of scenes in which this filming style is detrimental. One was a catfight between Connie Nielsen and Gina Gershon's character in which it's often hard to tell who's hitting who and where they exactly are at any given moment. The other was a chase scene towards the end.
Overall, given the subject matter, or at least what I thought the subject matter was going to be, I have to say this film was a disappointment. It was overly confusing, poorly written with unlikeable characters and, worst of all, rather boring. With such sleazy content involving animated porn and torture sites, they chose possibly one of the worst angles to approach it from and certainly one of the least compelling. It kind of improves in the last 30 minutes or so, but that doesn't excuse the nearly 90 minutes that came before it. If discussions about contracts, clauses and market share are your cup of tea, by all means check this out. For me, however, it was just a dud and waste of my time and money.
One impression that I got while watching this film is that it is that it tries to be, and thinks that it is, smarter than it really is and that is one of the big reasons that this film failed to impress me.
Acting/Characters: There weren't any characters in the film that I liked. No one that I really cared about. They could have all been killed in the end and I don't think I would have cared because there was no one that I was rooting for. That's never good. The acting was sub-par in its best moments of which there were few. The film never gave us any reason to like one character over the other. 3/10
Plot: It started out okay and it looked like it could be interesting at first, but then it went downhill from there. The plot got erratic and I just stopped caring. It had an interesting premise at first. Kind of. The premise got weaker as the film went on. It was just kinda pathetic all around. I didn't fully understand the ending. well, I did actually, but I didn't understand fully why or how the plot got there. It was a weak plot that failed on most points. A decent beginning though. 3.5/10
Screenplay: It switched from French to English and in some places it was Japanese but it was mostly French. I never cared about what they were all saying. I didn't really understand how it all dealt with the plot half of the time. It was weak. 2.5/10
Likableness: Do not watch this film. Jhon E. I'm sorry but I cannot suggest it to anyone. I certainly will avoid watching it again at all costs. There was nothing to like about it. Nothing that kept my interest. The plot was erratic and uninteresting throughout most of the film. It had its rare moments where I was interested but none really that I enjoyed enough to give this film much grace. 3/10
Final Score: 12/40 30% (S)
I couldn't find any trivia for this one. sad day.
Demonlover makes skillful use of extreme close-ups and intense sound. The wedding of image (by Denis Lenoir) and music (by Peter O'Rourke and Sonic Youth) creates a dreamlike, hypnotic effect. But what is happening? Somewhere half way through the plot virtually disintegrates before our eyes. The same promo sheet says it's no more complicated than James Bond movie, but this is unfair, because in Bond movies the good guys and bad guys are usually quite clearly defined, and here they distinctly are not. There is something mean spirited, too, in the way every nationality is abused: the Japanese are patsies, the Americans are boors, and the French are rude and exploitive. The latter part of Demonlover, in short, gives the appearance of having been edited more for audiovisual effect than for narrative coherence. Despite the intriguing audiovisual experience the film offers, our interest in the plot and the characters with which the film begins is never satisfied.
Another source of dissatisfaction comes from claims to timeliness and significance. The filmmakers seem to think that buying and selling anime is a significant indicator of media manipulation. But whether it's magazines or 3-D manga, pornography and the imaginative or financial involvement in it are nothing new. The way media is getting into the hands of a smaller and smaller number of mega companies is significant, but that's not Assayas interest. Anyway, it's usually better not to try too consciously to be cutting edge, as Assayas statements show him to have been doing in Demonlover. The actors are working hard, but their efforts are largely wasted. Connie Nielson, who has the bulk of screen time, is wonderful to look at. Her face is elegant and teases.
In the end, Demon Lover starts off as a beatuifully shot film but sadly, the second half loses strength and the story goes nowhere.
**1/2 out of 4 star
Within the movie there are 3 spoken languages French, Japanese and English! So subtitles are required unless you are familiar with them ;) I found this aspect quite entertaining and it was really funny, especially when they were talking French and then cursed each other in English and then back to French ;)
Connie Nielson stars (who I've only seen in Gladiator up to now) and to be honest without her performance I wouldn't manage to see the whole thing!
The ending is sad or better a tragic irony for the main character. Also it has a scene of a teenage boy who represents reality and how easily anyone can have access to internet pornography no matter what.
Its fun to watch but mostly rumply and confusing!!! Nielson's dynamic acting & some action scenes help the movie, but still I wouldn't recommend it unless you have time to kill or you are into weird movies ;)
The film was originally X-rated, but had cut a few scenes and blurred some nudity, in a scene were real cartoon pornography is visible. The film is now an R-rated film. I must admit the thing that kept me going was the beautiful Connie Nielson; she does an excellent act as well. The film seems to have an overall good acting, although the film has French language, it jumps from English to Japanese. As some of you might know I always have subtitles on my TV, during English TV as well, so do not miss anything. When this film jumps al l-over the place the subtitle can be muddled-up, so they slowed me down a bit.
Overall, this is a very weird film that I struggled to keep-up with, although I was not paying all my attention. From what I can tell, it is a good film and I enjoyed what I saw, although the sadistic and masochistic parts were not my cup of tea. The film has already reached a cult status. I must admit it is not the greatest film, but Connie Nielson got it over the line. I would not really recommend the film, mainly because it is all about pornography. Although it is not that bad when it comes to sex, there is only one real life sex scene, and it is not explicit. I would like to know what you guys thought of the film though. Therefore, if you could please I would like it if you watched the film, so I know what you thought about it. Some people we love it, and some people will hate it.
Connie Nielsen, or her character, is in focus of the movie. And she does somewhat of a good job trying to keep it together. But it must be hard when the director intentionally cuts crucial parts of the story, leaving the audience guessing, and the character development nonexistent. Instead we get unmotivated scenes with porn or nudity.
The cinematography was beautiful at many points in the film and the score from Sonic Youth fit in very well with the vibe of the film. Back to the cinematography for a second, I couldn't enjoy it as much I should have since the DVD I viewed it on (region 1 - USA) had a very poor transfer. The image was very pixelated. Did the production company or distribution company not care enough to do the DVD encoding properly?
Anyway, I tried my best to enjoy this film but I could not. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Apologies to everyone that worked very hard on this project.
It is a straightforward story of corporate espionage that posed as a mystery unraveling. And there are messages to be said, subtly and subversively, but it fails in my opinion. That said, it has great performances by the 3 ladies, who are all perfect in their roles. Without them, this wouldn?t be worth anything. And I liked the director?s Clean, but maybe he needs a scriptwriter. Or better editor for such.