"Wild Grass" Movie Review (2010)

7/06/2010 Posted by Admin

"Wild Grass"

Movie Review

By our guest blogger, Aidan Thomas

Alain Resnais’ new film, “Wild Grass,” is a masterpiece that resists all attempts at classification. I consider myself a film fanatic and this is a film fanatic’s film. It is simultaneously experimental, melodramatic, sentimental, laugh-out-loud funny and thrilling. The film’s premise is clichéd and banal, which makes what Resnais has achieved that much more powerful. Resnais’ achievement relies heavily on his own recognition and eventual subversion of the various traits that have made movies so predictable.

In many ways “Wild Grass” is the ultimate cinematic deconstruction.

“Wild Grass,” like countless recent films, is the story of what can happen when a random occurrence causes lives to intersect. Marguerite Muir, a 50ish dentist, has her wallet and bag stolen. Georges Palet, the film’s protagonist and sometimes narrator, finds it.

You can see it now. In the hands of a bad director, this premise becomes "You’ve Got Mail." However, Resnais uses this premise to explore the ways in which film conventions shape the stories we choose to tell in our lives.

Georges wants this chance occurrence to be so much more than it is. He uses this opportunity to engage in a conversation with himself. The film is structured as such. It’s a battle between the Georges we see onscreen and the Georges that narrates the film.

One appears to be a fairly normal, if bored, 50-year-old man in France. Narrator Georges wants everything he’s seen on film to happen to him in real life. He wants this chance occurrence to lead to a torrid love affair. When that becomes untenable, Georges goes the other root--he chooses to become a violent stalker and slashes Marguerite’s tires. In what is probably the best scene in the film, Georges is questioned by police about his actions. He chooses to play the role of psychotic villain and exacerbates the situation with hilarious consequences. Georges’ is not sure who to be because he is not sure what he wants this story to be. Will it be a romance? A thriller? A horror movie? A noir?

If it wasn’t already clear, this film cements Resnais' place as one of today's most dynamic directors. Resnais’ cinematic choices and structure constantly reflect Georges own approach to his story. The music, shots, colors and tones perfectly evolve as Georges’ interest in Marguerite ebbs and flows.

All of which leads to an unpredictable and layered film that warrants multiple viewings.

Grade: A

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