Solace

O…din! O…din! O…din!


The film does not disappoint, or disappoints well, or...the film does not appoint.
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Reported on 22nd of January, 2016

There are advantages to living in France. Balanced with the inexplicable re-titling and six months later blockbusters, we do get things like The Lobster before you do, and things like Solace actually come out in theaters, as instead of dropped into the stack that proves that Netflix provides ‘over 20 new films a week that aren’t How I Spent My Summer Vacation‘. Solace, which was straight to video there, is a dueling psychic serial killer movie. These last four words are meant to be said aloud, with unrestrained joy and clapping hands as the light dims: ‘I’m seeing a dueling psychic killer movie! I’m seeing a dueling psychic killer movie!’

Solace

9 September 2015 @ The Gaumont Rennes


$4.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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In these cases, one expects, nay, is entitled to, some amount of camp. Solace opens, like any book report grades 4 through 6, with the dictionary definition of the word ‘solace’. If you do this, don’t ever do this. And if you do do this, avoid your future facebook shame meme by realizing that ‘solace’ is not a verb.

The direction, courtesy of Sr. Afonso Poyart – the Jessica Chastain of shot choice – feels compellingly mistranslated. I incorrectly intuited Danish or Korean, but the element of FSM (film as a second language) announces itself, um, indecipherably: Sr. Poyart has the 2005 compulsion to shoot even the simplest scenes from a hanging spider’s POV or inexplicably shake the camera when someone is making pancakes. ‘Anything could happen!’, this shot seems to announce. ‘The pancakes could turn slightly less brown than they should be! Or overcooked at the center, with a that kind of sticky beige part on the edges!

‘Anything!!!!’

Thinking I had the film all figgered out, I sat back and waited for the waterfall of Alex Cross style goodness to wash over me. And the film does not disappoint, or disappoints well, up to a point. So let’s subtract one, add two and say, the film does not appoint.

Yes, retitling and so on. But as a sign of grace, I was still allowed to hear the pronunciation of NWA: Straight outta Compton in French, which is, phonetically, N, double-oo AY, Stritt ooota Compton. 'Compton' had to have been pronounced perfectly, or it would have ruined the joke.

Yes, retitling and so on. But as a sign of grace, I was still allowed to hear the pronunciation of NWA: Straight outta Compton in French, which is, phonetically, ‘N, double-oo AY, Stritt ooota Compton.’ ‘Compton’ was pronounced perfectly, or it would have ruined the joke.

For example, Sir Anthony Hopkins is introduced by such classic unretouched expositional clunkers: ‘I need to see him!’, ‘I think it’s a mistake!’ Mr. Xander Berkeley shows up (that counts automatically), and when we glimpse the killer in the distance, we, not being so young enough that we would use a dictionary definition in the frontispiece, recognize same as Mr. Colin Farrell. ‘Colin Farrell! Colin Farrell! Colin Farrell!’

Our third act is shot-for-shot recreation of Next with multiple Mr. Farrells and Sir Hopkinses walking through future versions of themselves, which itself culminates, and yes this is true, in a bullet time of bullet time. ‘I’m seeing a dueling psychic killer movie! I’m seeing a dueling psychic killer movie!’

Is Solace, then, just a fun camp…out? A shame to coin such a phrase in this case, because no, it isn’t. Instead it’s a sad reminder that of what it could have been. The story is straight up genre: Mr. Colin Farrell, very baroquely, murders people who are about to die before they suffer. It’s rather silly, but we are asking questions, in a dueling psychic serial killer film, about assisted suicide the meaning of death, and what it is we are so afraid of.

It makes you realize how rare the subject of death is, you know, in a medium with so much murder in it. You can count on one hand the number of films that have even attempted to address this subject: Earth, The Grey, Return of the Living Dead III and possibly The Seventh Seal and Gallipoli. Even films like the recent weepies Amour and Away From Her are about the I-can’t-wait-to-play-that-character topic of memory and loss.

The movie is not a noble mess, but it makes you want to make one.

The Take

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Profits!
First of all, Mr. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is swell. How is this guy not a major movie star?
$1.00
There are moments of grace, hence the glimpse aspect, with Mr. Morgan. @ $1.00 per glimpse.
$3.00
As Sir Hopkins gives a speech about the sanctity of death to grieving parents….
$1.00
Total Profits
$5.00
Losses!
…with a hard cut to a bone saw not ungraphically chopping into a skull. I leave you with my final notes, unretouched:
$1.00
What in the name of fucking popes was that? It’s part über-camp (word choice), part high concept, part genuinely moving and all terribly directed. And then he kills his daughter.
Total Losses
$1.00

$4.00

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