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  1. Published on: 06/11/2017 09:55 AMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: The troubles of a mildly dysfunctional middle-class family living in Calais.

    While I know there is an audience for Michael Haneke's films, I wouldn't call myself one of them.

    I have seen a few of his works in the past such as Benny's Video, Hidden and Amour. But most of the time I can never get into them. I do appreciate the craft of them, but apart from the latter thanks to their strong performances, I just can't give his films the same praise as the critics do.

    I'm afraid this is more of the same. It does have a lot of the usual tropes that Haneke has. One that bugs me the most is the lingering shots that to me feel pretty meaningless.
    It starts off with some interesting uses of modern technology. It dips into that every so often and does touch on some interesting subjects. But I think the main story at first did not feel that engaging.
    It does get better and more intriguing in the second half. Towards the end, I was at peak interest and just when it was bringing me in, the credits rolled unexpectedly. It almost felt as if I was watching a cut of the film that hadn't finished the ending yet.

    There were some good performances to speak of. The one I felt the most engaging was 12-year old Fantine Harduin. Her characters story-arch was by far the most interesting and her performance was a big help in making her the most gripping part of the story.
    Jean-Louis Trintignant had his moments and great some nice chemistry with Harduin in the few scenes they had together.
    It was great to see Isabelle Huppert as she is a terrific actor. While she did not feel much of a stand-out, she did a good enough job to be memorable.
    From the minor roles, I liked Franz Rogowski's involvement despite it not being a regular occurrence.

    I think the films biggest strength is the usual aspects that I find in other Haneke features, the cinematography and production design. It's shot really well, there's lots of striking imagery and his camera team makes the most of its landscape.
    As mentioned before, I did like the use of modern technology and that was portrayed. Annoyingly, the way did the subtitles was done in those scenes was hard to read at times.

    I think this just about warrants a pass. There is enough things in here to appreciate whether you get the story or not.
    For me, it was hard to pin down the theme and main message. When I read the plot synopsis afterwards, half of it I got but the other I completely did not. Apparently, it's supposed to have the European immigration problem as the backdrop. Only in two, maybe three scenes did it have that, and they only mildly covered it.
    I will keep seeking out other Haneke features to see if I can find other an exceptional piece of work other than Amour.

    Rating: 7/10
     

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