Day #203: Ne Te Retourne Pas (2009)

Ne Te Retourne Pas (Don't Look Back) (2009) (Unrated)

Ne Te Retourne Pas (a.k.a. Don’t Look Back) (2009) (Unrated)

Synopsis:

After her book is rejected by a publisher, Jeanne begins to experience an inexplicable disconnect between her lived experience and her memories. Starting off small and eventually consuming her, she must discover what her fractured mind is trying to tell her.

My take:

Take the first – and last – twenty minutes or so of Ne Te Retourne Pas, and you have a decent psychological drama (with some potentially paranormal elements thrown in for good measure).

The hour or so between those segments, on the other hand…

If I had to boil my issue with this movie down to down one main complaint, it would be the amount of time that it spends developing elements of the plot that, when it comes down to it, are nothing more than red herrings. I won’t list them, but sufficed to say: if there’s something you think has some direct relevance to what Jeanne (Sophie Marceau/Monica Bellucci) is experiencing, there’s really no guarantee that that’s the case. It’s just as likely to be dropped at some point during the film, because it’s outlived its usefulness.

This makes for a movie that feels very disjointed, to say the least. And while there is a certain extent to which this plays into what Jeanne’s experiencing, I can’t help but feel like a lot of it came down to the director’s inability to know when enough was enough. Rather than feeling refined, it feels roughly frenetic; amateurish, even. The fact that certain elements of the story simply don’t make sense even after the plot has been resolved, just adds to the sense that this is a movie that the director wasn’t quite up to the task of reigning in.

Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci both do great jobs with the role(s?); and there are actually a lot of other things to like about it – like the the set design, the special effects, the cinematography (if not the editing). But the messiness of the movie just ruined it for me – which is disappointing, because I feel like it could’ve been great otherwise.

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