A thriller often is an interesting exercise. How are things arranged and how do they play out? A thriller can be constructed out of many well-worn plots and be reasonably pleasing depending on the skill of the director, the crew and the actors. The smart way to handle a thriller is to combine an interesting plot with some interesting characters. A film should never be just about the events, but the people.
In Read My Lips (Sur Mes Lèvres) Jacques Audiard stylishly presents two unforgettable characters.
Emmanuelle Devos is great as Carla, a woman who is almost deaf and works in an office where she is overworked and ignored. When she is given the opportunity to hire an assistant she chooses Paul (played by Vincent Cassel), who has just been released from prison. They begin a strange friendship and the film constantly keeps you intrigued in figuring out what is going on between them. Is she someone who is plain and not noticed, a femme fatale, a victim, or a seductress? She is all of those things and more.
Far more interesting than the intricacies of the plot are the ways that parts of their personalities and desires are teased out of them. I would think that I understood what was going on, but then things would change. It’s a somewhat twisted, somewhat sweet story about two people whose plain surfaces hide very complex and deep individuals within.
Shot in a distinctive, sensual style with an amazing soundscape, it looks, sounds and feels completely unique, just like the characters. There is a loving attention to detail and a subjective point of view that shows what is going on with an efficiency and style that I loved.
tags: film, review, readmylips