L'Été meurtrier (One Deadly Summer) Reviews
In "One Deadly Summer," Adjani plays Elle, a new-to-town floozy so wet dreamy in her appearance and attitude that she immediately enraptures the attention of the male population in her new place of living. But while most assume that she's nothing more than a walking exhibitionist looking for a cheap thrill, Elle is anything but: in actuality, she's a revenge seeking dame hungry to avenge the decades old gang rape of her mother. Believing that the descendants of the perpetrators are living in the area, she hopes to right the wrongs done to her family, by specifically seducing (and, thus destroying) Fiorimonto (Alain Souchon), the son of one of the men she believes to be responsible for the dusty crime.
But when it is discovered that payback was definitively taken care of years earlier, with the family she's presenting preying upon verily innocent in the matter, Elle begins to lose grip of what's left of her stability, ultimately ensuring that damage, based in bloody reprisal or not, makes its way onto the scene.
Adjani is as brilliant as she is sometimes cloyingly coy -- she treads a fine line between overacting and deftly calculated embodiment. Per usual, there's no one better at pretending to lose their mind on the silver screen than she is. But Elle, trashily sexual and never quite coherent enough to be sympathetic, is a character too incomprehensibly written for Adjani to flawlessly portray.
And with its swamp of characters, saddled with Jean Becker's (who co-writes and directs) fatal decision to switch the film's perspective through varying voiceover, "One Deadly Summer" goes from stinging to muddled stunningly fast; rather than be supplemented by the insight it so ardently tries to fulfill, it's more discombobulating than effectual. He's incapable of setting a surefire tone, and his beating around the bush is noxious to the potent effect the film is looking for.
Sometimes it's a sex farce, sometimes it's a rape and revenge stereotype, and sometimes it's a good old-fashioned femme fatale oriented noir. But the flurry of styles is so scattershot that the film oftentimes feels as though it's still in the stages of planning, as if Becker expected Adjani's versatility to distract us from noticing his indecisiveness. Frequently, that is a reality. Most of the time, though, it's not, and the film swims about looking for a cinematic life raft when there's none for miles.
Thirty-three years later, in comparison to "One Deadly Summer," I find myself reminded of 2015's "Joy," a Jennifer Lawrence starrer that, despite its mixed reception, netted the actress a Best Actress nomination. Currently, Lawrence is a cultural phenomenon so beloved that one can expect Oscar adoration no matter the characterization. Three decades from now, no one is going to be talking about "Joy." And there's a sense that "One Deadly Summer" was the same way back in 1983: not a masterpiece, but acclaimed nevertheless because of Adjani's dominance over the French film industry at the time. Now that she's a legend rather than a fresh-faced star, one can see "One Deadly Summer" for what is actually is -- a misfired tale of obsession. It's sometimes interesting. But mostly, it isn't, even when Adjani is.
I had forgotten to turn off the hollywood-mode, but despite it I have to mention that the movie was indeed slow-moving, slow-paced. The storytelling seemed for a while to just stay in one place, which really taxes the movie quite a lot.
I found Adjani's face to be more beautiful than any other scene. Like someone pulled the curtains and the sun shone in, she personified some kind of ethereal beauty. Like the scene where she walks over the sand road in a pure white dress, one sees the summer with apple trees or something in the background, hearing the sand make a sound under her heels, her skin is tanned brown after lying in the sunshine on the grass in the french countryside against the white dress, and she looks inside the car window at her future husband asking 'am I ok?'
She also has a talent for acting sudden mood swings. My other favorite scene is where she's turned into a nine years old at the end of the movie in the mental institution. I think that great acting.
Well, a real movie. Its french. If you like Isabelle Adjani and french movies, you won't do badly by watching this. It's not for kids though. Anyway, hard to describe this film.. it all revolves around Elle and Pin Pon. The end is very surprising too. I can't really give an advice on how to watch this.. Its not particularly fast exciting or easy to absorb movie either, you have to be in a certain mood to get most out of it, perhaps some sort of withdrawal from hollywood-rubbish would have been helpful before watching this film. Well, its not what you think.. See the purity of illusion.
Switching from coquettish sexiness to childlike vulnerability in the blink of an eye, Isabelle Adjani is marvellous in the lead role, but try to imagine the film without her and it begins to look very ordinary indeed. The rest of the cast are fine, though strictly two-dimensional. Jean Becker's direction is adequate but completely lacking in tension; a first-rate director - say, Claude Chabrol in his prime - would have made more of the psychosexual strangeness of the tale, and would have better disguised the fact that the nicely ironic ending hinges on a pretty indigestible coincidence. My advice: read the book; if you like it, watch this for Adjani.
Isabelle Adjani is nothing short of one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in the world and her performance as Elle in this is absolutely perfect. She's sweet, maniacal, tragic and seductive all at the same time.
Unfortunately, this is a very hard film to find, but if you ever have a chance to see it I recommend that you do so. I loved it even with my crappy 700 MB rip with gray background subtitles.