...a one-of-a-kind movie-watching experience
As a movie lover/cinephile/film geek or whatever the name for us nerds is today; it is so damn refreshing to watch a movie that genuinely feels so unpredictable from beginning to end. Titane is a film I want to say so little about with what actually takes place on screen, because the less you know about it, the wilder of a ride you’re going to go on. Unfortunately, a blank page in place of a review does not fare well for you, our lovely readers, and in the interest of keeping my job, I’ll do my best to keep as much of this crazy film I can under wraps. But, if you want to know nothing else but my opinion, know this, I loved this crazy movie… a lot.
French-born filmmaker, Julia Ducournau, is no stranger to confronting themes and imagery in her films. For those who have seen her 2016 horror-drama, Raw, you will already have an idea of the dark and obscure tone that her films display.
Titane, while sharing the more disturbing elements of Raw, feels like a strong step in a good direction for Ducournau as a filmmaker overall. The cinematography is fantastic throughout Titane, with vivid lighting and captivating imagery that did not give me the choice to look away from it. Her strength behind the camera is beautifully displaying or visualising the most uneasy moments in scenes, and that is on full display here.
As well as keeping me interested visually, the pacing of this story is outstanding. Clocking in at 108 minutes, the movie never feels uninteresting or dragging, even with some slower scenes to allow audiences time to process some of the insane things they’re witnessing. Ducournau’s script is a mixed bag of genres that probably shouldn’t work together, but they do, and in turn it makes for a well-crafted cinema experience.
Speaking of Ducournau’s script… I would love to know how she comes up with the utterly shocking, intense, grotesque and disturbing ideas imaginable (or for some people, preferably unimaginable). Having seen so many films over my life so far, it’s very rare that a movie makes my jaw literally drop in shock, but Titane did just that (within the first 10 minutes too, I will add).
Explaining the story of this film will not do it justice, because as I previously stated, it is a mixed bag of plots that focus around a dancer named Alexia (Agathe Rousselle). The IMDb plot line describes the film as follows: ‘Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father reunites with his son after he’s been missing for 10 years.’ That’s definitely something that happens in the film, but it’s just scratching the surface level of themes that are explored by Ducournau in this story.
For every scene or moment that is toe-curlingly unsettling to watch, there is a moment that breaks down the notions of gender, family and life-long traumas. It would be so easy for people to quickly dismiss Titane due to its confronting visuals, but they are almost the lure that traps you into a much more human and emotional story.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Agathe Rousselle lays it all out for her role as Alexia, both physically and emotionally. Rousselle is asked a lot of herself with certain moments in Titane, and her bravery (as well as under the careful direction of Ducournau) creates a truly mesmerising character to follow. Alexia’s character arc from start to finish is truly mind-boggling (in a good way), and by the time the movie is over, the emotional exhaustion of her character was reciprocated by me.
Another truly great stand out was Vincent Lindon as Vincent. This is a character in which the less you know about his involvement, the better, but his performance is heartbreakingly strong.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
In true Ducournau fashion, there are some violent aspects to the film, and each one of them look great. The acts of violence do exactly what they’re supposed to do, which is shock. The use of practical effects in these moments of ‘body horror’ is unnerving and stomach churning.
As well as the gore, one character goes through a ‘transformation’ over the course of the story, and the ever changing body is shown through an incredibly realistic ‘body suit’ created by the special effects team.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Titane’s score blends seamlessly with the film, never once being overbearing unless the story called for it. During scenes such as a party or a dance show, the bass-thumping techno tracks aren’t too bad on the ears either, and really transport you into the scenes they’re featured in.
Titane is not going to be enjoyable for everyone. It’s confronting, disgusting, uneasy, violent, sexually charged and uncomfortable. But if that doesn’t put you off, then you are in for a wild journey filled with phenomenal filmmaking, captivating performances and a story that is truly unpredictable, all in all making for a one-of-a-kind movie-watching experience.