White Skin

"Good"

White Skin Review


Starting off as a chilly meditation on race and skin color, White Skin twists into something unexpected. It would be unfair to give away the film's narrative development, so let's just say that the movie's midnight slot at the Independent Film Festival of Boston was appropriate. More appropriate is that this previous fest award winner appears to be a love/obsession story only on the surface -- as the plot unravels, "surfaces" are what the film is all about.

Still, it's not what you may think. First-time filmmaker Daniel Roby introduces us to Black, streetwise Henri (Frédéric Pierre) and naïve White country boy Thierry (Marc Paquet), Montreal roommates who visit a pair of prostitutes in the film's first sequence. Nervous Thierry isn't interested, but confesses to his dame that he abhors redheads, that their pale skin makes him "want to vomit." Meanwhile, in the next room, something seriously bloody is going down with Henri and his redheaded hooker.

The guys assume Henri's blackness may be frightening to some girls. Perhaps. But what of Thierry's odd views about whites? His tastes really don't compute when he actually falls for a statuesque redhead named Claire (Marianne Farley, with pale skin, of course), carrying on intense trysts with her that are slightly hallucinogenic. Claire's strange comments after sex, paired with Thierry's undying dedication, give White Skin the feel of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. One of the pair just isn't right. Okay, maybe both of them aren't. But how, exactly?

Roby, who co-wrote the screenplay with the book's author, Joël Champetier, throws in a series of tense, eyebrow-raisers that work in varying degrees -- Claire's spooky family, the removal of Claire's gorgeous red hair, an emotional wedge between the roommates -- building to a climax that comes up a little short. As the true identities of the story and characters become clear, the film slides away from originality and gets too comfortable with the act of just creeping around an empty apartment.

Since Roby can handle the standard scary details with a good rhythm, that empty apartment stuff is passable. But the film's pace gets scattershot heading into the final act; the fine tension does loosen a little, until a skillful ending saves a somewhat flat final chapter.

Aside from narrative hiccups, Roby and company perform admirably and the filmmaker should be applauded for his casting. The wrong actors could have delivered obvious stereotypes, but that's been avoided: Paquet is boyish and green, but not gullible; Pierre is a natural, not playing into the "big, overwhelming black man" role; and Farley shows off confidence, fear and dexterity as the pivotal, mysterious Claire.

There's definitely a satisfaction to seeing a movie you can't quite figure out, and Roby seems to understand that. You can be on the edge of your seat expecting thriller-type scares, but there's some real stress in not even knowing if you're actually watching a thriller. As long as the journey moves briskly and has something to say, it works. White Skin, for the most part, does that. While this comes marginally recommended for all, self-proclaimed weirdos should certainly check it out.

Aka La Peau blanche. Reviewed at the 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston.



White Skin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 17th March 2005

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Thierry Richard, as Marquise Lefrançois, as Claire Lefrançois, Frédéric Pierre as Henri Dieudonné

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.