SPOILER ALERT !!
Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…
Holy sheeee-it, I love IRMA VEP by Oliver Assayas. Meaning I guess I think he’s a damn fine filmmaker, and worth payin’ attention to. And double holy sheeee-it with a side order of gawDAMN, but I love reviews by Vern. Put these two things together, and this one just might be my favorite article of the day…
It’s Vern again, just checking in to tell you HOW DARE you say that about movie piracy on the internet, blah blah blah complete 180, hypocrisy, blah blah blah etc. I have been reading this sight every day for 7 years just WAITING to catch you fuckers saying something I disagreed with. FINALLY I have achieved my goal and you will be QUITE unpleasantly surprised when you read what I have to say in the talkbacks. I will spare no expense when it comes to calling Harry fat AND making fun of Moriarty’s last name. I will be VERY offended and outraged and demand accountability as if you were a president who had manipulated intelligence, repeatedly lied and presented crudely forged documents to justify invading a country, thus creating a quagmire in which american soldiers continue to die every day.
Oh no, actually that was somebody else. The real reason I’m Writing is to review DEMONLOVER, the new picture from Olivier Assayas, director of IRMA VEP and husband of Maggie Cheung. Harry reviewed it at Sitges and there was another small item about it but come on man it’s time for the professionals to come in and review it for real. No offense Harry. Just kidding though Harry. Thanks Harry.
Mr. Assayas’s new picture is a story of double agents and intrigue. Beautiful women like Connie Nielsen, Chloe Sevigny and Gina Gershon travel the world engaged in a cutthroat competition full of treachery, deception, abduction, spy cameras, break-ins, and occasional bursts of brutal violence. It’s a gritty international spy picture but the twist is that they don’t work for any government or intelligence agency – they work for corporations called TokyoAnime and Mangatronics who are competing over a CGI pornime (the Demonlover of the title).
The story is well constructed for the most part and the filmatism is what you would expect from Assayas. Lots of intentionally disorienting camerawork, or shots with film quality (digital video, I think) that gets so grainy and degraded that it goes past ugly and becomes pretty. It’s not messed up all the way through like JULIEN THE DONKEY BOY or BEGOTTEN but there are a couple shots where the grain dances around so much I started to feel like I was being hypnotized by hundreds of thousands of maggots performing a synchronized swimming routine in front of the screen. It takes place in something closer to the real world of IRMA VEP than the movie world although there are a couple parts where Ms. Nielsen puts on something sort of like a catsuit and slinks around a little bit. But not that much.
All of the actors are real good, you don’t really know who to trust and the idea of the corporate espionage thriller is pretty clever. I’m not sure what Assayas was trying to say but I think there are some interesting ways to interpret it. Since they’re not working for a country you’re not as tempted to think somebody is “the good guy” and you can be more distanced from them. I mean let’s be honest, anybody who gets this competetive over fuckin anime porn is pretty much worthless. I’ve seen the pony-tailed dudes that watch this tentacle-up-the-cootchie cartoon garbage and it is pretty incredible that these gals would go through so much just to pull the money from their dragonball-z wallets. If those geeks knew a looker like Connie Nielsen was behind the scenes on that dvd it would increase the power of their boners by 50%. That might be the most contact they’ll have with a woman for a long time. In my opinion.
Anyway these secret agents could be fighting over some super weapon or microfilm but instead they’re fighting over a computer animated thing of looking up a cartoon gal’s skirt while she’s bowling. What really is the difference?
Unfortunately the movie lost me for the last stretch and I don’t think I’m the only one. There’s a point where it seems like the movie is over and two of the main characters are eating at a restaraunt. It seems like an epilogue to wrap things up but the conversation just keeps going and going. I could feel most of the people around me losing patience. Well, actually I couldn’t really feel them, I could just hear them sighing and tapping their feet impatiently. Well to their horror the movie was far from over. There’s another 20-30 minutes of incoherent nightmare business with lots of rape and headwounds and running around in the dark. Not alot of fun to be frankly honest. It’s like exactly when you’re ready for a movie to end they decided to throw on a couple reels of LOST HIGHWAY. If the last section was the deleted scenes on the dvd, I would’ve said, “Hmm, interesting” and then not finished watching them.
I’m sure someone out there can take the whole thing and I’d have to say I did like it overall despite getting bored at the end. The whole sadomasochism theme gets pretty creepy and sick. I like that they bring in the idea of people having rape fantasies about Lara Croft and the X-Men. I never knew that was what you kids were up to.
There’s also a real haunting score by some guy named Sonic Youth who seems to mostly do guitar feedback but in a very effective way.
Finally I gotta respond to Harry’s review. Harry you talked about the computer animation in this thing being incredible and how if they had movies with animation like this everybody would want to watch tentacles going up a girl’s coochie. I don’t think I agree with that one but I’m also pretty sure they cut alot of that out for this american version. During the tour of the animation studio alot of the animation clips were pixelated out. When it got to the computer animation I don’t think it was pixelated but it was just some sub–final fantasy style gal running around in lingerie bottoms jiggling her boobies and cutting up zombies with a sword. I thought it was a funny idea for exactly how low entertainment can go from here, and it did get a laugh. But some of the other stuff you described didn’t happen so either it got cut out or you made it up. Quit making shit up Harry come on now.
No just pullin your leg again bud. Well thanks everybody and as always I look forward to some insightful and constructive comments in the talkbacks.
“Some guy named Sonic Youth”? Oh, Vern, don’t ever change, you mad, glorious bastard.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/15422
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
June 11, 2003, 10:01 a.m. CST
from what i heard………..
chloe gives good head raves vincent gallo
June 11, 2003, 10:28 a.m. CST
best film of Cannes 2002!
it’s about time… Great movie, brilliant acting, wonderful cinematography! Last 20 mns are terrible. Can’t wait for the DVD when I’ll be able to end that perfection in time.
June 11, 2003, 3:13 p.m. CST
Wasn’t Scott Valentine in “My Demon Lover” Ugh, a totally 80s f
I think back in the hazy summer days between junior high and high school, I wasted a few bucks seeing “My Demon Lover” with the dude from “Facts of Life,” Scott Valentine. Those were the days when mall movie theatres were the only option for a kid with a bike. Good memories, bad movies.
June 11, 2003, 3:16 p.m. CST
I’m come to to conclusion that this movie is a big joke
Literally. If Assayas were a little less well-established I would call this movie one of those deliberate career-destroying things (LIKE THE BROWN BUNNY) but since he’s not going anywhere anytime soon I think it’s just a huge pisstake. The movie feels like a Hollywood exec’s attempt at cashing in on what he thinks is some big new youth trend, what with the casting (hip young stars! Chloe Sevigny! Connie Nielsen!) and the wacky fuckups (I love the repeated use of the completely invented phrase “Japanporno” BECAUSE HENTAI IS TOO DIFFICULT TO PRONOUNCE I GUESS) reminiscent of the technical BS in “The Net” and “Disclosure,” all of which was of course utterly laughable to anyone who knew anything about computers or networks or whatever. In fact pretty much the entire last third of the film (the part that even people who like the movie hate) is basically techno-thriller cliches taken to such an extent that you just know (or hope) it was intentionally that awful and not just sheer incompetence. Also the CG ISN’T that good.
June 11, 2003, 10:55 p.m. CST
“There’s also a real haunting score by some guy named Sonic Youth who seems to mostly do guitar feedback but in a very effective way.” Funniest quote EVER!!!
June 12, 2003, 4:35 a.m. CST
Funny review as ever
So tell me more about this guy Sonic Youth. Does he have a brother?
June 12, 2003, 3:35 p.m. CST
Yes, it got pretty dull at the end but the problem for me is that this film couldn’t decide if it was about the cipher-like characters’ machinations and manipulations of one another or if it was about the anime/internet porn industry. Both story threads started out semi-realistically but got so over the top I couldn’t take it seriously. I think it’s a long way from selling a competitor information to killing your co-workers, just as it’s a long way from watchin’ the tentacle porn to actually paying guys to kidnap women and torture them (oh, and if a teenager who borrows daddy’s credit card to view these oh-so-secret sites can find them so can the FBI). IRMA VEP was good because it was actually about something — making movies — it commented on the French film industry in particular, and it had actual human characters. This film was full of jerks who did things for inexplicable reasons. I cannot fault them for putting Connie Nielsen in an Emma Peel outfit, however.
June 13, 2003, 3:11 a.m. CST
Sonic Youth’s involvement means I will attend a screening regard
Having heard of this project long ago, I was hoping for some more info about the soundtrack. Oh well. Thurston Moore will change the world.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.