Movies For Breakfast TITANE Review

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Julia Ducournau’s sophomore feature is intense, incendiary, violent, unpredictable, depraved, horrifying and easily one of the best films of the year.

Synopsis

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years.

Review
There have been a plethora of unique films that have scooped up the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival but none so unique or blissfully insane as “Titane”. Coming off the intense fumes of her body horror debut hit “Raw”, director Julia Ducournau is back with her second film that follows Alexia (Agathe Rousselle, amazing lead), a woman who lives with a titanium plate in her head after being injured in a car accident in her youth. Oh, and she really loves cars – literally. After the brutal flashback opener, the film takes off as we see adult Alexia in action – a great, long tracking shot revealing her as an exotic showgirl at a motor show. After the show, as she walks to her car, a suspicious, overzealous fan follows her to her vehicle, desperate to get an autograph. Without going too much into this film’s expected surprise – or twist – the film takes a dark turn from there…with many more to come. After a psychosexual (and visually impressive) scene of vehicular object sexuality and a tender sleepover gone wrong, Alexia now finds herself on the run with only one option left.

In walks Vincent (Vincent Lindon, excellent supporting turn), a steroids-addicted, tortured firefighter captain that is still haunted by the disappearance of his son ten years ago. While on the run, Alexia makes the decision to rapidly change her appearance – including breaking her nose – to take on the look of an older version of Vincent’s son, “Adrien”. Vincent takes “Adrian” in at the police station and brings her back to his house. From here, Ducournau pulls off the kind of cinematic magic trick which reaffirms why I love going to the movies. “Titane” moves from being a sexy, nasty sci-fi thriller about fast cars and faster (deadlier) women to a piercing drama about two strangers learning how to both lie to and love one another. While the thrills and kills in Titane’s first half are exciting and visceral, it’s the shrewd and complex character development in its second half which really brings this film home and makes it deserving of the coveted Palme D’Or.

It’s difficult to write a review of a film like this without giving crucial plot details away. There’s still a whole lot of things I haven’t mentioned in this film’s complex plot that expertly keep the stakes raised, all the way to its jaw-dropping, unbelievable conclusion. The best thing about “Titane” is that you never quite know when and where the other shoe is going to drop. As Ducournau clues us in on most of what’s going on, we soon learn there’s a difference between knowing what’s going to happen and actually witnessing it. Comparing this to Ducournau’s debut film “Raw”, the visuals and sound effects are as visceral as ever. There is a potent David Cronenberg influence here as this film comes off as an emotional, slightly-less explicit body horror companion to Cronenberg’s 1996 cult hit “Crash” – another film where another car-related fetish is concerned. Speaking of Cronenberg, I’ll also say this is the second film I’ve seen produced by NEON that has someone being violently impaled through the jaw (see: Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor) so that’s impressive as well.


Closing Thoughts
“Titane” is an unpredictable visual feat that is best to be experienced in theatres. Its wild ride of a narrative – switching from plot twist to plot twist as well as genre to genre – is made for the theatre. I am thoroughly excited to see what is next for Julia Ducournau in her filmography as she continues to bring ferociously original films to the theatre. While it may be deemed as a film that is not for everyone, I can honestly say “Titane” is one of the best films of the year for its fearlessness as well as its director’s dexterous cinematic craft.


Trailer