Monday, December 26, 2005

Saint Ange (2004)

Okay, seriously... enough with the Americanized Euro-film. Is our cinema so attractive that all that's left for aspiring young European directors to do is emulate the worst qualities of our genre hackwork? Don't we get enough homegrown dross without having to worry about it coming from other countries? Jesus. Take this film, for example: This French-English plum pudding tries to cop moves from The Others and The Innocents but leaves the inherent dread stranded on the side of the road as it goes. Pascal Laugier knows how to do nothing that doesn't involve a degree of theft (not only from the two already-cited major influences but also from The Devil's Backbone, The Johnsons, Angel Heart and whatever else he can think of), and considering he got the funds to make this after crafting some hagiographic paeon to Christophe Gans, it's not surprising that he exists solely to make Gans look good in comparison. A little dose of Gans's enthusiasm would have helped juice this up a bit. Instead, we're left with a film that confuses poor construction with ambiguity and boredome with atmosphere. Virginie Ledoyen doesn't do the film too many favors, either -- her fumbling English-as-a-second-language dialogue recalls all the wrong parts of Catherine Denueve's turn in Repulsion. She does get nekkid, though, so at least the film's not a complete waste. (At least for those of us who have yet to see Cold Water. Though one nude scene is a bit compromised by the fact that her character is, at the time, hugely pregnant.)

Grade: D


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