HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
   
 
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Very Long Engagement, A Patience Is A Virtue
Year: 2004
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Dominique Pinon, Chantal Neuwirth, André Dussollier, Ticky Holgado, Marion Cotillard, Dominique Bettenfeld, Jodie Foster, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Clovis Cornillac, Jean-Pierre Becker, Denis Lavant, Jérôme Kircher
Genre: Drama, War, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in 1917, as the First World War was nearing its end, there were a group of five French soldiers who were to be punished for deliberately injuring their hands in an attempt to be discharged from service, even though one of them had shot his hand by accident. The military authorities could see nothing but cowardice in the men's actions, and felt no compassion for, say, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), the youngest at eighteen, who had been hit through the palm by a German bullet he had courted on purpose after the pressure of the trenches had gotten too much for him. But Manech had fiancée Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) waiting for him, little knowing he was being sent to his death...

Or was he? It's the triumph of hope against reason that powers the narrative of A Very Long Engagement, or Un long dimanche de fiançailles if you were French, which was the film that Tautou and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet followed their international success Amelie with. This was nowhere near the hit that their previous film had been, probably because although it has just as much faith in the power of love to conquer all, this is married to an exceedingly over-involved plotline that frequently makes it seem as if its heroine is deluded.

I am not going to reveal the ending, but it's this faith that she is in the right, this gut feeling that directs her actions, that gives Mathilde her purpose in life, and in turn the reason we keep watching. You do wonder that if Manech has indeed died at the Front you might be wasting as much time on him as Mathilde - well, not three years' worth of time, but at least that compressed into a couple of hours - yet Tautou brings out a steely determination that elicits a compulsion to stick with her. This in spite of using a variation on the old "If the toilet stops flushing before I get to the bottom of the stairs I will die" form of deduction.

In real life, experience will usually tell you that if you have hoped for years for something to happen along when all evidence points to it never occuring, then the best thing to do is give up and move on, but this is the cinema we're talking about, and besides there would be no story about war worth telling if there was not a triumph against impossible odds. Unless you're making one of those war films about sacrifice counting for nothing, which does happen, and might be the case here. A Very Long Engagement is in its twisting, winding fashion a detective yarn, drawing you in with each clue and snatching back your attention with each surprise, even when the trail appears to have gone cold.

Needless to say, this is all deeply romantic, the thought that a love affair can continue far after the couple have been split up, and Mathilde keeping the flame alive is a source of admiration. Jeunet films this by flitting from each development and revelation like a bee visiting each flower looking for nectar, never settling on one thread for too long when there are a host of others lining up to be examined. It has an abundance of style, as is always the case with this director, but it's not too distracting, and if you find your mind wandering (this is very complicated for such simple emotions driving it) then you can appreciate each painterly frame as it dances onto the screen. It's a journey worth taking as an illustration of the indomitability of the human spirit when the enormity of war's tragedy strikes, although its quirks verge strongly on the overfamiliar and it's never quite as profound as it aims to be. Music by Angelo Badalamenti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3114 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: