By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) -
Studios seem to have no intention of releasing last year’s Best Foreign Language Film nominees in anything resembling a timely fashion. This coupled with my location (hint: not NY or LA) meant I’m just now getting around to polishing off the category.
Incendies was the film I was most intrigued to see of the group. The French Canadian production follows a pair of twins (brother and sister) as they attempt to untangle the story of their birth and their recently deceased mother’s past. To do this, they must travel to an unspecified Middle Eastern country and delve into a past full of war, oppression, genocide, and clowns.
Ok, that last one was supposed to lighten the mood, but I think I made it worse
Photo By: Arvind Balaraman
It doesn’t take long to see why this film garnered so much praise and its nomination. Director Denis Villeneuve’s use of fluid shots, the music and sound design, and especially the cinematography all meld to make a beautiful, extremely well-produced film.
When you add to this a script that jumps between time periods as a device to ramp up tension and envelope the viewer fully in the mystery of the premise you get a very engaging film indeed.
Now for the broccoli…
The daughter originally approached the mystery as a complex math problem, a quirk that I liked all the way until her brother reveals the central devastating truth of their existence to her in the form of an equation. That she’s able to make the logical leap necessary to understand the words coming out of his mouth betrays all of the careful plotting leading up to the climax and gives us one of the dumbest reaction shots this side of anything involving Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Ghost Whisperer, indeed
Not leaving well enough alone, our film and the twins confront the source of their now thoroughly ruined lives yielding a final, ridiculous plot point that brings our story full circle, and speaks less to the strange serendipity of fate than just plain lazy screenwriting.
You may be tempted to quickly shotgun another beer right after the ending, or who knows? You may buy it. Either way, that this is 3 beers for me shows that the rest of the film is almost excellent enough to carry you past it.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every atrocity
Take a Drink: for each flashback
Take a Drink: for every highly unlikely coincidence