Monday, March 16, 2009

La Chambre des Morts (Chamber of Death aka Room of Death)

Not very often I would dare to watch what it seemed from the descriptions I read as an unpleasant movie about lesbian killers. But because I saw the trailer and I like the main actress, Mélanie Laurent, I decided to give it a try.

Well, yes is about lesbian killers but the movie was a nice surprise as totally kept my attention since the very beginning until the end of the movie and was quite interesting to follow the three (or four?) stories developing simultaneously until they slowly merge into one.

This movie belongs to the crime, mystery, thriller and drama genres and in my opinion successfully intertwines the stories with a style that mixes very French cinema with some touches of American cinema and the end product is not bad at all. After reading about the movie I found that many found the story predictable, which I didn’t at all; but I think I know the reason why. Some people watch movies because of the story they tell and I imagine that most watched this movie following the story; if you watch the movie following only the story, yes it will be predictable.

But you know me; I don’t watch movies only for the story and spontaneously this movie grabbed my attention for the actors’ performances (I was mesmerized with Mélanie Laurent performance) and the foggy and darkish cinematography that created great visuals for what I call a basic police story.

Some viewers find the story similar to The Silence of the Lambs. Me, I don’t; besides having a female police as the lead and some little cinematic details I find in this movie nothing else related to Demme’s film. Then the Silence of the Lambs is about the police woman and the serial killer; this movie is only about the police woman and a terrible incident that happens right at the beginning of the movie when she was a little girl.

Anyway I think I will not tell you what is about as if I do I will totally spoil the movie, suffice is to say that what triggers the involvement of the police is a child kidnapping going wrong when the man delivering the ransom money is hit by a car, he dies and the men driving the car steal the money. The kidnapers watch all, get the car license plate and “decide” to kill the little girl. Think I already spoiled too much the story, so you have to watch this Alfred Lot (he also wrote the script) movie to find all the twists in the story.

This could be a lesbian interest movie, but definitively I will not give the label as I believe that the lesbian interest moments are incidental and not essential to the story even when I totally understand the reason why the killer was lesbian.

The movie is not for all audiences as we have to remember that this is French cinema and you definitively have to like it to see all the nuances beyond the story. The film won the Best Writer for Alfred Lot at the 2008 Lumiere Awards and truly deserves the award.

I liked the movie that easily grabbed my attention, kept me interested and even tense at some moments, but I know that many will not like it, especially those that do not like to watch fake and “weird” animals’ killings.


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