• Lemming
    2 minutes 5 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Lemming Reviews

Page 1 of 11
Drew S

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2009
Lemming is handsomely acted by 3/4ths of its principal cast and never dull by any means, but the sum of these parts sort of falls short. The movie could have ended at the 45-minute mark and I wouldn't have missed anything, save a hokey dash of the supernatural and an excruciating protraction of an already hamfisted metaphor. I turned the movie off not feeling too satisfied.

Lemming is pervaded with characters making illogical choices in interaction. When someone in a film acts strangely, I enjoy trying to figure out why with the information a viewer has that the other person in the dialogue may not; it's an interesting dramatic technique that helps you get behind both the characters and their actions. Unfortunately, this happens all the time in Lemming but the motives are never really clear. It felt like the characters were being obtuse for the sake of keeping each other in the dark and manufacturing misunderstandings, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Learn how to communicate like the normal people you supposedly are and maybe this shit won't happen to you! I really had a lot of trouble sympathizing with the characters because of this, but the strong portrayals sort of recoup lost ground here. Charlotte Gainsbourg is a great fit in her part - I always enjoy seeing her in movies because she's clement and effortless, much like her even-tempered Benedicte here. Laurent Lucas, who I definitely don't remember from Who Killed Bambi (not that I remember much about that movie), is also surprisingly effective. He radiates a sort of loyal intensity, a quality that makes you believe in his devotion to his wife even when the script isn't really. Charlotte Rampling's screen time is brief but she is an imposing specter, lingering through the movie. Seeing the effects that radiate from her presence is the most interesting part of a movie that usually just dead-ends itself. The only weak link here is Andre Dussollier, whose IMDB page suggests that he's one of those prolific character actors that just don't really give a shit. His one mode of expression here would corroborate this, but as he's the least important character in the movie, I guess things could be worse.

I wasn't particularly expecting much from the movie, and that's just about what I got. I put it on my Netflix queue because I am quite fond of both of the Charlottes and wanted to see how they would fare in a thriller. The answer: they are disserviced by their material. Entertaining but sort of watery, Lemming's content probably doesn't justify its run time, unless you are really looking to kill two hours.
shauna1354
shauna1354

Super Reviewer

July 9, 2008
A gripping, underrated, French thriller.
I thoroughly enjoyed Lemming, it never lost my attention. The story is twisted and surreal, at times a little too weird but makes it more engaging. The cast is wonderful. Charlotte Gainsbourg is a very talented actress and deserves more recognition; all the other leads Charlotte Rampling, Laurent Lucas and Andr Dussollier are more than competent.
Nice usage of the Mamas and Papas, 'Dream a little dream of me' at the end, added a great effect to the film.
Lemming is an interesting, fresh and stylish film which definitely deserved more attention than it received.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2013
A French thriller, starring one of my favorite actresses, Charlotte Gainsbourg, as Bendicte, the wife of Alain (Laurent Lucas), who has moved to a new town for his job. He is befriended by his boss, Richard (Andre Dussollier) along with Richard's wife, Alice (Charlotte Rampling). The friendship quickly becomes a nightmare scenario because of the mental instability of Alice. I had trouble connecting to this, as it tended to rely on what appears to be the supernatural for its logical structure. A lot of strange things happen that seem to have no relation to each other, except in the most superficial way and I just felt like the attempt to bring them all together lacked finesse. The tension depends on trying to figure out whether the events were actually happening as Alain experienced them, or were the product of a psychotic break or a lingering effect from an traffic accident he winds up having. All in all, more than a tad unsatisfying. I'm still not sure what the lemming was supposed to signify. Alain finds one in their kitchen sink drain early on and it shows up in several scenes after that, but it seemed not to serve any purpose other than to lend its name to the film!
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lemming", Alain(Laurent Lucas) is an up-and-coming engineer developing a miniature flying webcam(I want one of those for Christmas) and lives in a suburban development with his loving wife, Benedicte(Charlotte Gainsbourg). His boss, Richard(Andre Dussollier), invites himself over to their house for dinner but arrives late with his wife, Alice(Charlotte Rampling), who is argumentative throughout the meal before ending the evening by dousing her husband with wine. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Puzzled by what has clogged his kitchen drain, Alain wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers a small rodent in the pipe. The creature is later revealed to be a lemming which is only found in northern Scandinavia...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Lemming" gets off to an intriguing start but lumbers along and lacks originality.(The lemming is not the only thing in the movie from Scandinavia...) The movie aims to be genuinely creepy but is uninspiring with its execution.[/font]
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2006
Exceptional, impossible to classify thriller/black comedy/supernatural film from the director of Harry, He's Here To Help; it's like a cross between Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch and is one of the most bizarre and satisfying films I've seen in a long time. Alain (Laurent Lucas), a designer of home security products (he's working on a "flying webcam") seems to have it all - a beautiful wife, Benedicte (Charlotte Gainsburg), a promising new home in a pretty town and a lucrative job. On the evening his boss, Richard, and his wife, Alice (Charlotte Rampling) come round for dinner, things start to get... weird. The kitchen sink blocks, and later Alice accuses Richard of sleeping with prostitutes and throws her wine at him, before trying to insult Benedicte over her 'model' marriage and what she sees as a superiority complex. That night, unable to sleep, Alain successfully unblocks the sink when he discovers a rodent (the titular lemming) in the s bend. What follows gets increasingly unnerving and surreal as Alice tries to seduce Alain before inviting herself back into his house, creeping out Benedicte and sleeping in the spare room. Sounds odd? Well, yes it is, but there is a point to the film and although there is some ambiguity it's not Inland Empire either. There are some unexpectedly very funny moments in the film, the atmosphere is expertly built practically from the beginning, Charlotte Rampling gives a frankly terrifying performance and the sound editing and music score is terrific. I'm already in anticipation for Dominik Moll's next film.
Lovable M

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2008
Really bad movie and didn't make sense.
spaulsson
spaulsson

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2008
I simply can't understand why this movie is so underrated and unpopular. Lemming are in many ways similar to David Lynch's masterpieces - slowpaced, mysterious and incredible suspenseful. The story will be recognized by Lynch-fans as well, starting off with truly happy characters that later experience big psychological problems. There is also a feeling for details which makes the movie beautiful. Amazing performances from, among others, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Charlotte Rampling. I will definately look up Dominik Moll's earlier works and I truly hope he gets a chance to create more.
littlecharmer1959
littlecharmer1959

Super Reviewer

March 29, 2008
Brilliant film, especially Charlotte Rampling and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Allen G.
May 1, 2013
I don't speak French, yet I feel this film would make more sense without subtitles... It's interesting and has a creeping tension that's never over the top but it's stuck in the all-too-familiar realm of mixing reality with illusion to a frustrating and headache inducing extent. it simply isn't necessary to be this oblique- there's time spent creating an unease within normality and when it all stops being normal the unease becomes confusion and then disinterest.

The performances are strong- I'm personally a big fan of Gainsbourg and she gives a typically good performance here. It doesn't change the fact that this is a slow frenzy of a film though- a strange beast that spends most of its time lying down instead of roaring around. It's fun to observe for a while but as it goes on the spectacle lessens.

There's still much to see here- it's constantly intriguing and most scenes would work very well as stand-alone devices but the experience overall is no where near as smart. If ever there was a film a film that wasn't the sum of its parts, its this one.
February 17, 2013
Splendid work by all four leads plus a squeaking role for the lemming.
September 8, 2012
A supernatural tale of possession or a surreal nightmarish psychological thriller??
The fascinating part is you can put it into either category as there's no definite answer at the end. With the usual flavor of a dark French thriller, director Dominik Moll's earlier hit WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY was more of a homage to Hitchcock but in Lemming, there's clear Lynchian influence as the line between dream and reality gradually vanishes and what appear to be supernatural occurrences could be explained as the product of guilt or shattered trust of a seemingly normal conjugal life.
The well known few faces of modern French cinema convincingly shines in their respective roles in this beautifully plotted 2 hour long gripping thriller; surely a definite watch for lovers of twisted dark thriller.
September 2, 2012
another tension racked film from dominik moll.you'll need time and patience though, worth it.
February 23, 2011
Cautionary tale of what happens when your boss invites himself to dinner and then you find a suicidal Scandinavian mammal in your u-bend. From the man who brought you "Harry, He Is Here To Help", and starring the same worried-looking Laurent Lucas
Rodstar
March 23, 2010
A very unnerving French thriller that definitely wears it's influences on it's sleeve. Although Lynch, Kubrick, Hitchcock and Bergman are probably staples in Director Dominik Moll's film school, it would be unfair to give him his own due credit for the fine thriller he has created. All performances are pitch perfect for the material, and their is thick tension guiding the viewer and the main character Alain Getty through the events portrayed. I am excited to see what the director has in store for his next film.
Frogsarefalling
June 5, 2008
Charlotte Rampling is the icing on the cake in this strangely twisted journey, which just happens to feature the most awkwardly menacing dinner scene in film history.
frameofmind
October 6, 2006
Like [i]Swimming Pool[/i], this one is a mind-bender with some great suspense and an interesting storyline.
vharding
August 11, 2006
There's this perfect young couple named Alain and Benedicte who live in an equally perfect house in the south of France. They've recently moved there so that Alain could start a new job as a home automation engineer. His first invention is this really cool remote controlled flying webcam. It's like this grapefruit-sized sphere with helicopter blades that you can make fly around and film stuff for you when you're not even home. I know my birthday is still over four months away but this sure would make a swell present.

Benedicte is currently jobless but busies herself cooking and cleaning and fixing up the house. She seems pretty much perfect in every way except for her enigmatic choice of blue jeans: she wears Wranglers. Didn't Wranglers used to be totally uncool? And aren't all French women intrinsically chic? So does this mean that Wranglers have made a comeback? Or is Benedicte just trying to be ironic? (A guy once told me that a girl actually broke up with him because he wore Wranglers; the trauma subsequently transformed him into a confirmed Levite. Oh, wait a minute. Maybe it was Lee jeans. Nevermind.)

So anyway, after a successful demo of the cool flying webcam, Alain invites his new boss and his boss' wife to his home for dinner. They arrive over an hour late. Mrs. Boss never removes her sunglasses, complains loudly about Mr. Boss' "whores", throws a glass of red wine in his face, and rips into poor Benedicte about how she'd better not dare feel superior to her. Then off they go. And all of this before the salad course is over.

Later that evening, Alain removes the trap underneath the kitchen sink which had become clogged earlier in the day. He spots the blockage and removes what he believes to be a small dead hamster but which actually turns out to be a small live lemming. The strange thing, as the vet points out the next day, is that lemmings live only in Scandinavia and aren't kept as pets in France. Also, he says, that thing about lemmings committing mass suicide by jumping into the sea is just a myth, but I already knew that from watching way too much Animal Planet. I wonder if I brought a half-dead lemming to my dog's vet if she'd be nearly so helpful and informative. I'm guessing no.

So anyway, Mrs. Boss continues her nutcase behavior by paying a surprise visit to Alain in his lab the following evening. Then she pays another one to Benedicte the day after that. In case you were wondering why I kept rambling on about tangential topics above, it's because this is really about all that I can tell you about the plot without giving stuff away. Though if you've read any of my other reviews you probably weren't wondering about that at all.

The first half of this movie is extremely suspenseful, in part due to this really scary music that made me have to pull the collar of my t-shirt up over my nose for protection. I kept feeling like Jason Voorhees was about to leap out of the closet with a chainsaw and slice everyone to bits, but then I'd remind myself that this is just a nice French movie about a Wrangler-wearing suburban couple with a pet lemming.

Or is it? See that's the thing. The longer the movie goes on, the creepier it gets, until slowly but surely it crosses over the line into the realm of the supernatural. Personally, I found this genre-jumping transition a bit disappointing. I mean you don't see Jason taking a break from his carnage to relax in a bistro sipping wine and munching on croque-monsieur, do you now?

But still. I'm not usually a big fan of thrillers, but this one grabbed me from the start. It's a throwback to the days when filmmakers used music and mood to mess with the audience's mind instead of relying on cheap scare tactics and special effects. For a while there, I thought I was going to end up dishing out two 9's in a row, thus completely ruining my credibility as a critic who's usually as hard to please as pre-Life cereal Mikey.

But fortunately, (or unfortunately really), the movie goes downhill from here and keeps on going for an overly long 129 minutes. Maybe I just don't have the endurance to be tense for that long, but I got to the point where I hardly cared how the movie ended, just so long as it did. But I can't really blame my loss of interest totally on my lack of emotional stamina; after a certain point the story just starts falling apart until it gets to the point where it becomes just downright idiotic.

But despite the unsatisfying ending and my belated realization that I'd been duped into believing that there would be rational explanations where there really were none, this movie is still well worth seeing. Flying webcams, cute lemmings, and the unexpected resurgence of Wrangler jeans. Who needs a tidy plot when you've got all this?
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lemming", Alain(Laurent Lucas) is an up-and-coming engineer developing a miniature flying webcam(I want one of those for Christmas) and lives in a suburban development with his loving wife, Benedicte(Charlotte Gainsbourg). His boss, Richard(Andre Dussollier), invites himself over to their house for dinner but arrives late with his wife, Alice(Charlotte Rampling), who is argumentative throughout the meal before ending the evening by dousing her husband with wine. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Puzzled by what has clogged his kitchen drain, Alain wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers a small rodent in the pipe. The creature is later revealed to be a lemming which is only found in northern Scandinavia...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Lemming" gets off to an intriguing start but lumbers along and lacks originality.(The lemming is not the only thing in the movie from Scandinavia...) The movie aims to be genuinely creepy but is uninspiring with its execution.[/font]
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