Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hidden (Cache)

If I'm asked to recommend a film with style but no substance, then this movie will be it for the year thus far. So much have been raved about the direction, that the storyline is left hanging deliberately. Perhaps there's not much of a story to begin with?

We start off with a motionless camera capturing from afar, a series of apartments. Precious minutes go by as the credits start to roll, until someone hit the rewind button, which is when you realise you're watching a tape. Or rather, the married couple Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and Anne (a bloated Juliette Binoche) are. Some twisted mind has sent them a video of their apartment from across the street, though it is friggin' impossible to do so without them, or anyone, noticing a high-end good quality voyeuristic cameraman doing so.

So you get more and more of such tapes being sent over together with childish pictures of incapacitated heads spewing blood, some with different settings, or clues, which Georges decides to investigate by going on-site. What happens, I will not reveal, but it is boring just to watch them go about trying to find out who the perpetrator is. The plot gets more and more absurd, so much so that you'll be screaming for it to end halfway through the movie. The premise gets terrifically set up, but the delivery has so much more to improve.

It is disappointing. From the trailers, you feel that you're up for some good old thriller with satisfying twists. But what you get is a painfully slow movie, which tries to conjure and allude France's history with the Algerians. The saving grace is probably both Auteuil and Binoche's performance, as a husband who finds it impossible to reveal his past, and therefore causing extreme tension with his wife, who finds it almost impossible to trust.

There's a full scene in which a boy hacks up a chicken's head, and the camera lingers until the chicken dies. This is what this movie is, a headless chicken running around in futile, boring audiences until its end. The plot is like Georges' character when he was almost knocked down by a cyclist - exhibiting great bravado with his initial challenge, but when challenged back in return, cowers and wraps up with the tail in between its legs. Pah!

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