Andrea’s film review – Titane

Titane ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years. (Titane: A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys). Out in cinemas now.

This French-Belgian film is a hard one to recommend, unless you’re a horror fan or you have the right stomach for it. I thought I was one of those who would fit both categories, as I have seen more horror films with plenty of gore in my life than I care to admit, and yet even I had to close my eyes at times and watch bits of it through my fingers.

Director Julia Ducournau had already stepped into horror territory with her previous and very interesting cannibalistic drama Raw, but nothing could have prepared me for this wild, delirious, dark, gruesome and yet surprisingly thoughtful and poignant tale.

On the surface it’s the story of a woman who is a compulsive serial killer and who after a series of impulsive murders is on the run. She ends up in the care of a fireman and disguises herself as his long-lost son who went missing a decade earlier. The two of them strike a peculiar bond.

At least that is the actual plot on paper… not that it matters much, because Titane is a film mainly driven by its mood, its feelings and its many thematic explorations: gender, sex, trauma, loneliness, grief, parenthood, redemption and possibly many others (I can’t pretend I understood it completely).

In fact, beyond some truly weird and shocking images, this is a much deeper film than it may first appear and which goes well beyond the simple horror genre; not for nothing did it end up winning the Palm d’Or at Cannes last year. Clearly those French saw a lot more in it than I did.

It is definitely an unsettling film, not quite for the average moviegoer, with an astonishingly powerful performance by Agathe Rousselle at the centre of it. Her journey, both as an actress and in character, is a real tour the force, from sexy dancing on top of a car, to an actual sex scene WITH a car (yes, you heard me right: remember David Cronenberg’s Crash?) all the way through to an incredible transformation half way through… and more at the end…

The title itself refers to the titanium plate that holds together her skull after a car accident when she was a little girl, but also it’ll mean something else as the film develops in the most surprising ways.

I have to be honest, I didn’t love it, nor I think I will ever want to watch it again, but I was completely mesmerised by its power and its absurdity, its beauty. I really don’t think it’s the masterpiece people are saying it is; it meanders a bit in the middle and its provocations at times feel both a bit silly and nasty for their own sake at the same time. But one thing is sure: it’ll stay with me for a long, long time.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Titane  is out in cinemas now.

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See also: Aladdin at the Lyric, Hammersmith – Review

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