Saturday, October 11, 2008

[French Film Festival] Could This Be Love? (Je Crois Que Je L'aime)

Trust Me Not?

Directed by Pierre Jolivet, Could This Be Love contains all the trappings that would making Hollywood come knocking on its doors for the rights to a remake. You have your romantic leads, a rich industrialist and a talented artist, start off with being loggerheads, before the pursuit begins over conversation and comedy. There's the myriad of supporting characters like the secretary, driver and family, but the one which stood out in the film, was an inhouse investigator.

When it comes to business, Lucas (Vincent Lindon) is unparalleled in his acumen, though he defers to his investigator Roland (Francois Berleand) to dig up any dirt on the competition or partners, or even his own staff, to have a second informed and unbiased opinions. Being estranged from his wife, he has no luck with women, especially when they're sent by competitors to fish for information. Hence the paranoia and fear with members of the opposite sex that he fancies. Elsa (Sandrine Bonnaire) is the artist commissioned for a project at his office lobby, and while he takes an almost instant liking to her, she's one tough nut to crack, so meanwhile, he sends Roland on his usual behind the scenes work.

I guess nobody would like to be spied upon, especially not by someone whom you just come to know trivially. It tells you something, that there isn't a bedrock of trust to begin with, the very foundations that a relationship would be built upon. On one hand you fancy somebody, and on the other you'd come to appreciate if you could get the lowdown and having some honest beans spilled – if bad, then walk away, otherwise the pursuit could continue until such time some degree of dirt get dug out, then all bets are off.

For the most parts this movie played out like your standard romantic comedy, and my, the comedic moments were funny given the timing of Vincent Lindon. I especially enjoyed the extended scene of anticipation, dread and regret, when he gets invited back to Elsa's apartment which is rigged by surveillance devices, when he just couldn't respond the come hither opportunities, knowing that his employee would or could be watching. And it were moments such as these – running afoul of his own mitigation of fear, or having his excuses to take some time off from work for his romantic escapades, that blow up in his face.

The chemistry between Sandrine Bonnaire and Vincent Lindon worked perfectly, that you'll have no qualms to have this couple charm you into sitting through what is essentially formula, where boy meets, pursues, loses the girl of his dreams. It doesn't however bore you with too many saccharine sweet moments, but what it does accurately, was perhaps to paint the culture of fear amongst those who dare not take that leap of faith, which probably is required by anyone wanting to get into a romantic life with someone else.

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