Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recently watched movies

By pure coincidence, I happened to have these two movies in line for viewing:

  • Nathalie, a 2003 French movie directed by Anne Fontaine.

  • Chloe, a 2009 Canadian movie directed by Atom Egoyan

I didn't know that the latter was almost a shot-for-shot remake of the former when I queued them. It was certainly a case of serendipity, a random alignment of the stars for maximum effect. With that in mind, the two movies are begging for a comparison with one another. Okay, here goes. In the French version, the Depardieu character could have been cast as a cardboard cutout and nothing would have been lost. At least, Liam Neeson in the same role fleshes out the role a bit more. The main roles are for the pair of female characters. Overall, the two movies are mostly on a par with one another in this casting, except Julianne Moore's performance stands out above all. She shows, once again, that she is absolutely fearless. At this point, the Canadian version looks like a worthy remake, even though some of the dialog in the Canadian version is copied verbatim from the French version and the delivery comes off as by rote and stilted at times. The Canadian version includes Hollywood's fetish for Apple computer hardware- nice product placement, I guess. I need something else to make a final comparison of the two movies. The divergence of the scripts will be the difference. The French version of the film is dark; the Canadian version is darker. That seems to give the edge to the Canadian version. However, just when its direction is clear, the script lets up. For whatever reason, the Canadian version spells everything out for us and concludes with a tidy Hollywood ending. Big mistake. I would have liked a more ambiguous ending with more loose ends and more overtones of Greek tradegy. Overall, that is a big weakness that shifts the scale back to the French version. It is a missed opportunity for the remake to improve on the original. As it stands, the French version wins out. YMMV.

p.s. Could it be that the script was altered at the last minute due to Neeson's personal real life tragedy?

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