Zoë Kravitz is a traumatized OCD shut-in during a global pandemic, working remote for a shabby Siri competitor whose idiot bosses committed a crime within hearing range of their own product. Zoë flirts with neighbor Terry (Byron Bowers, currently on Irma Vep), sees a dentist over Zoom, pals around with Romanian hackers, and reports an apparent crime to company HR (led by Rita Wilson), who continually assure her that they take this very seriously. Will Zoë thwart the criminals, meet the nice neighbor, and leave her apartment, defeating her agoraphobia and the entire pandemic? Of course – it’s not a very serious movie despite the up-to-date pandemic/surveillance themes. She’s even the kind of home-coder who can take out the company hitman (Jane The Virgin’s Dad) and his two thugs using a nailgun. Top cameo by Devin Ratray, as her neighbor who comes over only to get immediately stabbed, named Kevin here in reference to his best role, “Tinfoil Kevin” on The Tick.
Publisher Guillaume Canet (writer/director of Tell No One) is married to TV actress Juliette Binoche, but we know she’s having an affair with writer Vincent Macaigne (The Innocents) because when her husband says the writer’s new book is about his affairs she perks up and asks if they’re recent affairs, and we know Guillaume is having an affair with his digital media director Christa Théret (a recent Man Who Laughs remake) because he’s gung ho about his company going fully digital even though this seems at odds with everything else he values. There’s a minor subplot about the publishing company being sold, which turns out a false rumor, or a power play by Guillaume’s boss.
“The blogosphere is heated”
“Tweets are modern day haiku”
“Now we have algorithms”
Assayas has made at least two incisive movies focusing on then-current technologies with Demonlover and Personal Shopper, and he’s covered inter-generational difference and relevance beautifully in Summer Hours and Clouds of Sils Maria, so it’s strange that this one feels so dated and inconsequential. IMDB says he began writing it in the mid-2000’s, so maybe that’s part of it. At the end they’re trying to get the “real” Juliette Binoche to voice their audiobook, then the writer’s girl announces she’s pregnant and Jonathan Richman’s “Here Come the Martian Martians” plays, and suddenly I’m wondering if the movie was meant to be a comedy.
One of the only car-competent gearhead dudes in a computerized future is crippled in a suspicious attack after a self-driving car takes him into a bad neighborhood, right after meeting a reclusive tech giant named Eron (ha) who owns the self-driving car company. The gearhead’s wife is killed, and detective Betty Gabriel (Get Out) tries to figure out who could be responsible, but we know it’s Eron because so far he is the only other person in the movie. It becomes sort of a Black Mirror Robocop John Wick, as our now-crippled dude gets an Eron-designed brainstem chip that allows him to control his body again, then gives him enhanced abilities, then completely takes over. Whannell worked on all the Saw and Insidious movies, and Logan Marshall-Green, good at taking brutal actions that his voice and face say he’s not controlling, previously fathered an alien in Prometheus.
First time rewatching this since 2003.
A warmup for Playtime, toying with modern technology and living/working spaces ill-suited for the decidedly unmodern Mr. Hulot. At his sister’s house, sound is made by electric gizmos, and at Hulot’s, it’s made by aiming a sunbeam at a caged bird.
Sidetracks follow neighborhood dogs and schoolboy pranks. At the end the dad bonds with his son in a small way, at the expense of having Hulot sent away, and the dogs again take over the film.
On of my favorite gags, the women talking to each other but facing the direction the path dictates:
Won the oscar over Big Deal on Madonna Street, and won a jury prize at Cannes the year of big winner The Cranes are Flying. So many blu-ray extras and reviews of this… a good one: Matt Zoller Seitz for Criterion.