Monday, August 21, 2006


Do You See What I See?

The lemming has this reputation as a mindless creature which commits suicide by jumping off cliffs, and this has developed its connotation to various popular culture, and I do recall a computer game called Lemmings which features exactly that.

This movie, which opened the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, has a plot point related to this Lemming reference, but I shan't go into the details for obvious reasons. Directed by Dominik Moll, Lemming tells the story of the young Getty couple Alain (Laurent Lucas) and Benedicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who seem to be living the model life - a relatively successful husband, a beautiful wife, a large house in trendy suburbia. What more could they ask for?

Things start to go all wrong when Alain's boss and wife, Richard and Alice Pollock (played by Andre Dussollier and Charlotte Rampling), arrive one night late for a scheduled get together dinner, during which Alice's behaviour as a guest was utterly deplorable and downright rude. They end the night on quite a sour note, with Richard's philandering ways made public, and thus set in motion a series of unexplainable sequence of events that plague the Getty couple.

For moments this film couldn't decide how it wanted to play out, and this will leave you engaged throughout its painfully slow revelation. Yes you'll feel the length of the slowness in pace, but strangely would be forgiving and willingly allow to be hooked. From hints of a psychological thriller, to supernatural horror, or can even be boiled down to a demented imaginative mind, you will inadvertently try and decipher the plot, as well as attempt to classified its genre, which the filmmakers ensured that you possibly cannot, until the very last few scenes.

So perhaps it's best to mention something which the movie proposed, a thought about why a married man will choose to refuse getting entangled into an affair. Is it purely because of the love for the spouse, or simply because the chances of being caught one day is high, and not worth the risk? Each of us has an internal moral compass, which guides us on the general dos and don'ts, rights and wrongs. However, if there is a strong belief that you could do something incorrect, and get away with it, would you go ahead and do it? It makes for intriguing discussion.

The soundtrack was creepy though, with that lone piano plonking away in eliciting the necessary mood from the audience. And it does so quite perfectly as it raises your heartbeats, and while you're waiting for the final crescendo, it just holds it right there, and continued to hold that note till... well, nothing!

And I'd probably still recommend this movie if you're looking for different fare amongst offerings of the week, though you'd have to agree to be led from start to end. The revelation might make you wonder why the trouble to go through all the fuss, and given its simplicity in playing it out the way it had chosen to, it would give that unfulfilled feeling, that it could have lived up to its initial potential.

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