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  Immortel Ad Vitam Gods And MonstersBuy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: Enki Bilal
Stars: Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann, Charlotte Rampling, Frédéric Pierrot, Thomas M. Pollard, Yann Collette, Derrick Brenner, Joe Sheridan, Olivier Achard, Corinne Jaber, Jean-Louis Trintignant
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A huge, floating pyramid has appeared in the skies over the future New York of 2095, and inside it Egyptian gods congregate, deciding on how to punish one of their number, Horus (Thomas M. Pollard). Hawk-headed Horus is given seven days to find a woman amongst the humans to reproduce with, and then his immortality will be taken from him and he will be put into a state of unknowingness. He emerges from the pyramid and takes a look around, and seeing two helicopters inspecting the structure he causes them to crash into each other with his incredible powers. Then he takes flight as a eagle and commences his search for a suitable human host for his plans, a search that will cost lives...

If there's one thing filmmaking will be known for in the 2000s, it's the increasing use of green screen combined with computer-based special effects in place of matte paintings or even conventional scenery. Which is what is put into effect with Immortel, or Immortal if you prefer, as it was drawn from director and screenwriter (with Serge Lehman) Enki Bilal's comic book series in an attempt to make it as visually faithful as possible to its source. The result might have been more pleasing if they'd stuck with animation all the way through, as the actors don't fit well with the combination.

Our heroine is Jill (former Miss France Linda Hardy) who is picked up by the security of the all-consuming Eugenics corporation which sees to it that the population are aided with transplants to prolong their health. She immediately makes an impression on scientist Elma Turner (Charlotte Rampling), who is curious that Jill's biological make-up is oddly un-human, so where has she come from and who is she? Jill has trouble remembering herself, and when she admits to confidante John (Frédéric Pierrot) that, "I'm confused," you may well sympathise.

As all this is going on there seems to be a serial killer on the loose, who is actually Horus searching for a suitable vessel and violently rejecting those who aren't compatible. But he does find someone in the shape of Nikopol (Thomas Kretschmann), a freedom fighter against the tyrannical government who has been put into suspended animation for thirty years, but whose sentence is unexpectedly cut short near the end when the pod he is in crashes into the Brooklyn Bridge. Now missing half his leg, Nikopol is pounced on by Horus and given a prosthetic limb via the god's welding skill with a length of girder.

What a pity it's so heavy, but Horus' possession of Nikopol's body makes it much easier to lift. Now the two of them, the host being reluctant but unable to resist, track down Jill and using Horus' mind control, manage to seduce her. Hardy is made up to look futuristic, which means she wears a blue shower cap on her head for half the film, and is pallid of complexion - the blue lipstick helps. This goes some way to matching the graphics, but the appearance is icy, which may suit the intellectual pretentions, but doesn't appeal much beyond that. If you start to try and work out the plotting, as far as the characters' backgrounds go, for example, then you're in danger of ending up baffled, so Immortel is more satisfying as a piece of technical wizardry. Music by Sigur Rós, Goran Vejvoda and Venus.

[Optimum's handsome-looking Region 2 DVD features trailers and behind the scenes documentaries among its extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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