February 7, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive

Alien Eyes

Above: Zombie-like Charlotte Rampling catches the model couple kissing in the kitchen. Below: Charlotte Gainsbourg gets a shock. Photos: © Philippe Quaisse

After all the hype at the current Cannes Film Festival and the success of Dominik Moll’s last film, Harry, un Ami qui Vous Veux du Bien (Harry Is Here to Help), the director’s new film, Lemming, is a disappointment.

The story tells what happens after a lemming (a small rodent that is reputed to commit group suicide and lives exclusively in Scandinavia) is found blocking up the kitchen sink of a nice young suburban couple (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Laurent Lucas) in the South of France.

The film wants to be a psychological thriller (with a supernatural element thrown in for good measure) and starts out with an appropriately sinister ambiance, but the attempts to build suspense fall flat because of the slack pacing and a number of unnecessarily drawn-out scenes. The excellent but over-present score gets us all nerved up for terror without really delivering, and certain scenes meant to shake us up (the attack of the lemmings) just aren’t powerful enough – we’ve seen similar horrors too many times in various classic horror films. In fact, Charlotte Rampling’s alien eyes are by far the scariest thing in the movie.

The film has some funny moments (perhaps unintentional) and nicely spooky cinematography, but it’s a shame that Moll hasn’t been able to give us another tightly woven Hitchcock-style psychological thriller like Harry.

Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

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