A Few Days In September

"Bad"

A Few Days In September Review


Lots of bad things seem to happen in a matter of "days" in the month of September. It took Four Days in September for Alan Arkin's kidnapping drama to unfold, but only One Day for the Munich Olympic hostage catastrophe to pan out. 9/11 would be the backdrop for 7 Days in September. 9/11 is the subjext again here, but director Santiago Amigorena must have sensed that primary numbers were getting scarce, saddling his film with the awful title A Few Days in September. You know, give or take.

The title isn't all that's awful about this film, a mess of a story that wants desperately to be an espionage thriller. The tale centers around a missing spy named Elliot. On the hunt for him is Irène (Juliette Binoche, perhaps never more out of character) and two of Elliot's kids, American David (Tom Riley) and French Orlando (Sara Forestier), actually step-relations.

The film plays out as a romp across Europe, with Irène getting vague instructions from her handlers and the kids playing out a typical sibling rivalry before later hopping into bed together. Oh, did I mention there's an assassin on their tail? John Turturro (also out of character) plays the sole ray of light in the film as William Pound, a poetry-spouting killer who calls his therapist whenever he's about to shoot somebody. This doesn't stop Irène and the gang from getting drunk most nights as they zip to Venice, though. Subtle she ain't. In Irène, you've never seen a worse spy.

In the end, Elliot is found (it's Nick Nolte), and there's the expected showdown among the principals, and still we won't know what secret Elliot has in his head: Hint, the film concludes on September 10, 2001. Ultimately, the connection to 9/11 is, frankly, exploitative and has nothing at all to do with the movie... except in its sad attempt to sell a few extra DVD copies.

Binoche is normally a model of acting grace, but her ham-fisted attempt to play action hero is all wrong from the start. The kids are unsympathetic, too, with long stretches of film dragging out as they have pillow fights or squabble over who gets a bigger slice of cheese. Turturro, hot on their trail, offers the film's only bright spot, leaving a series of corpses in his wake, to darkly comic effect.

Amigorena directs his first film but he's a prolific writer: This is his 26th screenplay in eight years. To say it's a rush job would be a gracious way of putting it. The script is an utter mess, a convoluted attempt at offering a fantastical conspiracy tale behind 9/11 that simply does not work at all.

A lot of dumb things have been said about that day. This might be the dumbest yet.

Aka Quelques jours en septembre.



A Few Days In September

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 6th September 2006

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Koch Lorber Films

Production compaines: C.R.G. International, Gemini Films, Les Films Du Rat, France 2 Cinéma, Production Group, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), Canal+, TPS Star, Région Ile-de-France

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Santiago Amigorena

Producer:

Starring: as Irène Montano, as William Pound, as Orlando, Tom Riley as David, as Elliott, Mathieu Demy as Le jeune banquier, Saïd Amadis as Le vieux banquier, Magne-Håvard Brekke as Igor Zyberski, Joël Lefrançois as Le concierge de l'hôtel, Alexis Galmot as Le serveur, Jean-Luc Lucas as Le contrôleur, Roberto Moro as Le gardien du palais, Julien Husson as L'homme à la cigarette

Also starring:

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