Monday, January 16, 2006

Movie Review: Cache

Cache is an art house film. I don't usually use this term and it doesn't bother me but here I use it disparagingly. On the surface it's about a Georges and Anne Laurent (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) who start getting anonymous packages of video tapes of the front of their house. It's best described as a surveilance tape. More such things come, wrapped in drawings. The couple try to figure out who is sending these to them. As we get further into the film, the couple invariably starts bickering as they deal with the situation differently.

Now the art house stuff. This movie isn't really about what I just told you. This movie is about France and its failing to deal with its transgressions against Algeria. You'll notice various news stories of such things prominent in the background. Georges represents France and another character Algeria. And you know all of that is ok and greater meaning usually makes a movie better for me. The problem with this movie is that to make points about about its symbolic meaning, it shortchanges its overt plot.

Yes there is some neat camera work and acting in this film. Though many will confuse this with overly long scenes with little action and no camera movement. Really the open credits will alert you to this and the rest of the movie is the same way. Long static shots, sometimes of just a (quiet) street scene. Others will find the long shots of characters thinking intriguing. There is also one genuinely shocking scene that's very sudden and raw. Michael Haneke is certainly a skilled filmmaker.

I'll say here that the film's ending didn't work for me. If you go see the movie, watch the upper left of the screen during the credits. iF you want more info, this is the best review I've found. It gives away more info than I have but not all, it's also very intelligently reviews the filmmaking and meaning. If you want to avoid spoilers stop reading now.

Update: It turns out this review is the most popular entry in my blog. Please leave a comment below on what you thought of the film or this review.

Spoilers

Sorry about having to do this via spoilers but I don't see another way. There isn't an ending to this film! We never find out about the tapes, and there are many plot threads left open, in fact, all of them. I remember Ebert's review of Mulholland Drive where he said David Lynch "violated the contract between director and viewer". Michael Haneke does the same thing. I didn't mind such things in John Sayles' Limbo since that narrowed things down considerably. In Cache you can extrapolate many different causes from naming specific characters as the source of the tapes to calling it merely a contrivance of the story. You can also tack on any ending you want to any and all of the characters. it makes a point, but it's very annoying and I think in some ways lazy. Bleech.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Ooh...hadn't heard about this. I am going to try and see this, or at least put this in my Netflix queue before I forget. I just love Juliette Binoche. I could watch her ...even in a bad movie. I'm not sure if she has a knack for picking good movies, or if she's in the movie I like it; but either way I am going to see this.

Good format with the "Spoiler" section, much appreciated.