The Blue Room (La chambre bleue) (2014)
Critic Consensus: The Blue Room proves a sobering study of the dark side of human nature, as well as a coolly assured directorial effort from star and co-writer Mathieu Amalric.
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Critic Reviews for The Blue Room (La chambre bleue)
The ultimate triumph in what Amalric has done is to show us all the different forces that can be at work in an affair.
A dazzling deconstruction of the mystery genre that turns its conventions on their heads.
If anything, it's a backhanded testimony to the plodding effectiveness of detail-minded detective work and the slow grinding of the bureaucratic justice machine.
'The Blue Room" is a tight little look at love gone wrong, something of a stripped-down French "Gone Girl" without the surprises.
It's an accomplished film, if a bit cool and tidy; you wish there were a little more to it.
The pleasure of a whodunit generally derives from trying to figure out who done it, but in the case of this arty, terminally obscure French mystery, most of the story has already transpired before one can even piece together what was done.
Audience Reviews for The Blue Room (La chambre bleue)
It is very hard to find something appealing in a sterile drama that plods along with a suspense devoid of tension, dull courtroom scenes and a whodunit plot that is never engaging, all without making us relate to its characters in any level, especially when they are all equally dull.
Despite the orgasmic moans and gasps in the opening frames, the sex although plentiful is understated and the nudity discreet. This film blends the qualities of classic cinema - the balletic structures of Jean Renoir; the melodrama and angst, and the anti-heroine, of the Nouvelle Vague; and the elegant twists of Hitchcock. The soundtrack of piano solo and strings recalls the accompaniment to early films. The story is of a dark side to the cinq à sept, the reputed sport of adultery, French style. Amalric has perfected the role of the passive lover, forced on his character by terrible circumstance in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and ingrained here willingly in the psychology of the shivering Julien. Julien's paramour Mme Despierre dominates him. Of course it had to be this woman who is venal and possessive. The film unfortunately reverts to sexist stereotypes - was Simenon that simplistic? The screenplay defends vigorously the miserable wife, who seems determined to keep suffering in silence. Julien is cast as victim - his blame translates into charm. It is an old fashioned formula: the madonna, the whore, and the boy-man to be indulged. Must we have this, now that we also have existentialism and feminism? Still, women will brush aside the standard pattern, which is easy enough to put up with when laced with painterly cinematography, French style and some picturesque travelogue. The film will no doubt disappoint those hoping for pornography; you can see who they are when the lights come on, because they look embarrassed. This is not blue; rather more like a conventional pastel.
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