VIFF21. THE FINAL RECKONING
Demonlover - A Film Review by Alex Grant
skinny-dip in to the deep end of the cesspool of cybersex
Olivier Assayas Demonlover, for some unknown reason given
its much heralded North American premiere at VIFF 21 on October
8th, is a tediously sensational corporate intrigue thriller most
generously described as Eurotrash.
Yet one more vainglorious stab at breaking into the U.S. market akin to
the far superior Jean Reno cop procedural The Crimson Rivers and the rumbustious
occult epic The Brotherhood of the Wolf. Lets wrestle big bucks
away from Hollywood by aping its most crude offensive product!
Played by up-&-coming U.S. actresses Connie Nielsen,Chloe Sevigny
and Gina Gershon a trio of two-timing corporate viragos commit heinous
crimes in order to gain promotion and to sabotage their employers
plans for world domination of the Japanese S&M erotic manga-anime
Their Machiavellian maneouvres bring them hard up against a snuff
torture website THE HELLFIRE CLUB which is luring women into its dungeons
for utter degradation.
While idly toying with issues such as female empowerment and womens
liberation the pretentious writer director Olivier Assayas deludes himself
as a cutting-edge director on the world-class cinema scene.
Replete with ultraviolence and kinky fetishistic sex Demonlover presents
this offensive scenario with the glacial condescension of a Gallic Martha
Stewart, a diabolical den-mother
Diane de Monx [Nielsen] plots to supplant her bosses confidante
Karen in the Volf Corporation by feeding her surreptitiously an overdose
of Haldol , a drastic anti-psychotic drug
Then a chain of internecine mayhem is unleashed, with every loony-tunes
corporate diva either a double-agent or a fifth-columnist or just a nasty
piece of work.
Demonlover gives a very bad odour to French cinema, which proportionately
quality as opposed to quantity of films produced annually
is the richest and most reliable source of viable art films. Assayas
new film trots out all the most pernicious pseudo-philosophical chestnuts
of his national cinema.
He simultaneously indulges all of the bullying in-your-face callousness
of mainstream Hollywood product.
A rickety roller-coaster ride to nowhere Demonlover is a reckless pot-pourri
of sensationalism for its own sake . Such a vicious exploitation film
has no place in any serious film-festival. While striving to depict female
empowerment it merely has the opposite sex degraded on screen yet again
for the kicks of arrested adolescents.
© Alex Grant October 2002
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