Review Date: 4/23/16
Director: Joann Sfar
Cast: Freya Mavor, Benjamin Biolay, Stacy Martin
A stylish and sexy psychological thriller about a shy and mousy secretary named Dany (Freya Mavor) who decides to take her boss's car for a joyride while running an errand for him. She ends up in a town she's never been to, and yet everyone seems to know who she is. Things get really crazy when a dead body appears in the trunk of her car, which pushes her sanity to the brink. Is it all an elaborate ruse, or is Dany losing her mind? The resolution is a bit of a stretch, but it completes the puzzle in a neat and tidy way.
First and foremost, Freya Mavor delivers a riveting performance. Joann Sfar's fetishistic direction presents her as shockingly sexy, and his camera lovingly caresses her every move. Watching her crack under pressure while trying to rationalize the world around her is heart-breaking and terrifying. Her unpredictable behavior and the film's fascination with mirrors suggests a bi-polar personality disorder may be involved, but there's also evidence of her being manipulated behind the scenes. And are the flashbacks memories or fantasies? It's all rather vague and leaves the viewer uneasy. While the final denouement strains credibility, the punchline is shocking in its raw intensity.
It's a low budget film with a small cast, but it looks and sounds great. Freya Mavor is immensely charming and has a fabulous wardrobe to work with, while Stacy Martin does a wonderful job of coming across as a despicable cold-hearted bitch. All of the men in the film are creepy and suspicious, which adds to the tension and dread. The story is a complex tease of fantasy, mystery, sanity, repressed sexuality, feminine vulnerability, and psychological self-examination, with occasional outbursts of sex and violence. It certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but I found it extremely captivating and enjoyable.