There’s nothing quite like seeing a fetus being torn and sucked out of a woman especially when your listening to “Good Morning, Starshine.” If you squint and pretend Bibiane Champagne (Marie-Josée Croze) has red hair you’d swear she’s stepped into a Tykwer wonderland. Bibiane’s a dirty girl. Ever since her abortion, she’s begun to take a lot of showers. One could say she’s a “fish out of water.” Denis Villeneuve’s Maelström opens with a shot of a fish about to spew some age-old tale of souls inextricably bound in existential angst. Actually, the story isn’t that old. In fact, you’ve probably seen it a good dozen times since Kieślowski’s Blue: in Go, Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior. Car accidents seem to entrance the Kieślowski upstart: crash a car or truck and link lives for eternity. The motto has been hawked to death. All that’s left now are more twists and turns and, in Maelström‘s case, metaphors that never leave the aquasphere. Bibiane’s abortion and famous heritage (her mother is some fashion icon named Flo Fabert) are precariously used to doubly cripple the girl so she’ll fall harder once she smashes her car into a fish-carrying old man. Bibiane is now in homeopathic mode, taking her pain to the clubs after downing a tab of ecstasy. The problem, though, is that the octopus at a local restaurant is tough. Tough like, um, life but not as soft as Bibiane, who’s now contemplating suicide. Now that she’s offed the best octopus-catching fisherman in the land, she and the old man’s son (Jean-Nicolas Verreault) are left to fry fate and love until it resembles one miasmic, blue-tinted “what if.” Thankfully, Villeneuve has a sense of humor, which means Bibiane’s potential fate is absurdly showcased via everyone’s desire to slice, dice and gut the old man’s killer. Maelström earns its haunting, unpredictable ending, never exaggerating Evian’s moral dilemma. Still, without non-stop techno or the existential overtones of a Kieślowski morality tale, Maelström is just another Winter Sleepers. It may have style but it’s so reductive it’s rendered instantly forgettable. Like Evian says: “It’s all the same in the end.”
- Arrow Releasing
- 83 min
- Denis Villeneuve
- Denis Villeneuve
- Marie-Josée Croze, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Stephanie Morgenstern, Pierre Lebeau, Klimbo, John Dunn-Hill, Marc Gélinas, Bobby Beshro, Marie-France Lambert, Virginie Dubois
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