Magazine article Screen International

'Ville-Marie': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Ville-Marie': Review

Article excerpt

The latest feature from writer/director Guy Edoin (Marecages, Corno) is an ambitious attempt at a Crash-style ensemble, tracing the interconnecting lives of a group of damaged souls in downtown Montreal. There are strong echoes of Almodovar and fellow Canadian Xavier Dolan in Ville-Marie, as it explores fraught relationships between mothers and sons, fractured families, guilty secrets and the blurred line between fact and fiction. It is intermittently engaging and occasionally clunky as it follows the emotional fall-out from a number of traumatic accidents and inevitably suffers from the curse of the ensemble drama in that some characters are much more interesting than others.

The most marketable element is the regal star presence and strong performance of Monica Bellucci in one of her most demanding recent roles and that could be enough to spark theatrical sales in markets with an eye on her post-Spectre box-office glow.

Bellucci wafts through the film like a haunting perfume as movie star diva Sophie Bernard. Her arrival in Montreal prompts a long tracking shot as she walks through a largely deserted airport. She is in town to make a movie that echoes events from her own life and Edoin is a little too in love with showing us scenes from the production of a stilted-looking film that feels as glossy and artificial as a Ross Hunter Universal effort from the 1950s.

The highly stylised production design and a lush, Bernard Herrmann-style score suggest the delirious swirl of a melodrama that might once have starred Lana Turner and Bellucci is dressed to kill in every scene. Whether these extended sequences really add anything to the overall picture is a moot point but they are a splendidly decorative distraction.

Sophie is also in Montreal to build some bridges with her gay son Thomas (Aliocha Schneider) who is increasingly insistent that she reveals the name of his father and the circumstances of his birth. …

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