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À TOUT DE SUITE (R) (2005)

Cinema Guild

Official Site

Director: Benoît Jacquot

Producers: Georges Benayoun, Raoul Saada

Written by: Benoît Jacquot, Elisabeth Fanger

Cast: Isild Le Besco, Ouassini Embarek, Laurence Cordier, Nicolas Duvauchelle


Lili is 19 years old and sick of the city. She's sick of school, family, boyfriends, and maybe even her girlfriend. The only thing she's not sick of is rebelling. She loves secretly harboring her friend in her family's apartment, hiding her in her room and bringing her spare food. She meets a dashing young guy who buys the girls drinks and sandwiches, and invites them to meet him at a club later that night. They go and Lili meets the olive-skinned avatar of her obsessive imagination. He can be described only as a mysterious Moroccan man with a fat stack of cash always on hand. He works in real estate. She takes him home with her friend and sleeps sweetly with him all night; in the morning she refused to go to school, deciding rather to show him her pussy in a casual and nonchalant manner.

Then she gets a call from her Moroccan idol late at night, and suddenly he's not in real estate anymore, he's a bank robber. His friend is dead, shot by the police. A cashier at the bank is dead, shot by his partner. They have hostages, but are surrounded by the police. Some way, somehow, they escape the dead-end hostage situation and take to hiding with Lili. Watching them prepare to flee the country, Lili decides to join them, as she'd much rather be a fugitive on the run with hoodlums than a boring art student. Actually, to tell the truth, I have no idea what was so bad about her life on the right side of the law. Is it really so bad to sleep with your girlfriend every night, sneaking off to clubs and meeting mysterious, wealthy, sexy young men at will? Whatever. I'm not a 19-year-old girl, and I never will be. Who am I to question this young woman's fantasy to run off with outlaw acquaintances?

It's not fair to give this movie two stars. In some ways it deserves four or five, but in others it doesn't really deserve one. The director of photography, Caroline Chempatier, did a spectacular job creating a beautiful picture out of each frame, as well as making some masterpieces out of a handful of them. Unfortunately, the scriptwriting sucked spectacularly as well. I understand that it's really the touching story of a young girl who gave her heart to the wrong man, but I just had a lot of trouble relating to Lili. The romance was… raw. It was undercooked; it seemed as appetizing as steak tartare. But for some reason Lili gave her heart to this Moroccan bandit, and he left her penniless in a foreign land. She comes off as a dumb blonde with no chance of redemption, the archetypical spoiled brat (I really hated that bitch from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). We can only guess from the serenity of the ending that she somehow learned a lesson, somehow cured her soul. Sigh…

So think of this movie as more of an art gallery moving at 24 frames per second (or something like that). There appears to be a theme to this gallery, a story involving a small group of photogenic people running across Europe. You can try to look deeper, but the story reveals little. You don't like the characters; they all have a driving flaw that leads them to tragedy. They are in a preposterously precarious position that only idiots find themselves in. They deserve what's coming to them. But at least it looks pretty. Just goes to show you how important a director of photography really is.

It just drags on and on and on, and then you ask, "Was that an ending?"

-Duncan Wright

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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