5x2 (In Subtitled French)

"Weak"

5x2 (In Subtitled French) Review


Opening with an extended scene of such dry divorce-relat=edlegalese that after a while it becomes almost funny (property division,child support, life insurance, taxes), "5x2" is another entirelyunique cinematic experience from writer-director Fran=E7ois Ozon.

The young filmmaker has a penchant for inventively tweaki=ngthe nose of whatever genre he's working in -- 2003's dark noir thriller"SwimmingPool" was ironically sunshiny, 2002's "8Women" was a musical spoof of Agatha Chr=istiewhodunits (or perhaps a murderous spoof of Technicolor musicals). His newendeavor may sound a little more traditional -- it tells the tale of aonce-happy marriage falling apart -- but leave it to Ozon to start withthe divorce and work backwards to the couple's first flirtations on a beaut=ifulbeach.

In the first of five episodes going back through time,a drained-looking Marion and Gilles (Val=E9ria Bruni-Tedeschi and St=E9phaneFreiss) finalize their separation, then go to a hotel room for a last rompin bed that shows just how ugly their relationship has become. Later scenesallude to the infidelity, unreasonable demands, emotional disconnects andother turning points that are not immediately apparent to the charactersthemselves.

As the film back passes through the birth of the couple'sson, then their honeymoon and wedding (a civil ceremony emblematicallyas dry as the opening scene's divorce), Bruni-Tedeschi and Freiss weaveincreasingly subtle hints of discontent and temptation into their performan=ces,while Ozon builds an image of better times that do stick with the characterseven through their worst of times.

But despite its strong acting and purposefully clever str=ucture,"5x2" is only sporadically engaging -- and often off-putting.Ozon lets us see unattractive truths in these people (for instance, Gillesis a terribly selfish and sometimes cruel lover), but the director doesn'tfind enough romantic spark (or enough kindness) in the relationship's earli=erscenes to make the audience really empathize with the initial attraction.

Ozon's originality and talent for tapping a psychologicalraw nerve makes "5x2" a noteworthy film even with these caveats.But characters the audience could get behind -- whose points of view wereeasier to slip into ourselves -- would have made for a better movie.



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