HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead 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 2741 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
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: