A Few Days in September (Quelques jours en septembre) (2007)
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Critic Reviews for A Few Days in September (Quelques jours en septembre)
An intriguing set-up spoiled by a clever-clever script, Christophe Beaucarne's migraine-inducing cinematography and performances which are decent, but never gel.
Intrigues by virtue of its cast and premise but -- at least for native English-speakers -- is marbled with conceptual clunkiness verging, in places, on laughable.
Savvy thriller for conspiracy buffs with star performances by Binoche and Turturro.
Audience Reviews for A Few Days in September (Quelques jours en septembre)
After receiving word from her former colleague Elliott, Irene Montano(Juliette Binoche) collects his daughter Orlando(Sara Forestier) to meet him in Paris. But Elliott never shows. Which is a good thing considering that William Pound(John Turturro) is gunning for him. Who does show up is Elliott's stepson David(Tom Riley, of 'Da Vinci's Demons') who along with Irene and Orlando head to Venice, after losing William. All of which leaves the fate of Irene's pet turtle undetermined. "A Few Days in September" is an offbeat movie about family, intrigue, guns, travel and poetry and maybe not in that order. Considering when the story is set, the movie's leisurely pace could be thought of as symptomatic of a pre 9/11 way of thinking where all the clues are there but not the impetus to act on them. What is not up for debate is this being a movie that is helped out with both Juliette Binoche and John Turturro being in it, especially with Turturro speaking French.
Pursued by a poetry-quoting assassin, long-lost siblings travel across Europe with a French ex-spy to rendezvous with their father. The title A Few Days in September refers to the few days preceding 9/11. It's not giving too much away to say that the film assumes that the U.S. government knew about 9/11 before the attacks, but one of the film's weaknesses is that it doesn't do much with this charge. Does the government cause the attacks or merely allow them to happen? The film's idea doesn't figure heavily in the plot, and thus it becomes a political film with uncertain politics (excepting one scene in which Orlando recites the usual catalog of American offenses to the tepid objection of her brother). What remains when the politics are stripped away, which isn't hard to do, is a basic spy thriller. But don't tell Juliette Binoche this. Her acting is milquetoast and insouciant, and the younger actors pick up on Binoche's vibe. It is as though the stakes of spy thrillers is intentionally absent, but I can't figure why. I also found the John Turturro (in an impressively bilingual role) plot poorly concluded. I had hoped there would be greater motivation for his character. Overall, I can imagine conspiracy theorists liking this film but nobody else.
A delicious sashay of a movie that can't quite make up its mind what it is: film noir, romantic comedy, espionage thriller, teen tease or spoof of them all. Yet somehow it holds together. Brittle, quirky dialog. Turturro is hilarious as a CIA assassin undergoing on-the-job cellphone therapy. Benoit is incomparable, of course. Nolte is Nolte but his gravitas gives the film work boots.
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