A Few Days In September Movie Review
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.