memento_mori's Movie Review of Incendies

Rating of


'Grand' in the truest sense of the word.
memento_mori - wrote on 05/21/14

So that was Denis Villeneuve's insanely long, emotionally draining and mind-fucking twist ending… I'm gonna take a bath now.

The 30 movies challenge goes off with a bang as I awarded Denis Villeneuve's - who by now has cemented himself as an outstanding filmmaker - disturbing epic a much higher rating than I initially thought I would.

Now that I have witnessed that, I don't trust the people around me anymore, alas: I have nothing but praise for Villeneuve, once again, for impacting me on a deeper level than usual.

To excel in every category is something we rarely see a film do nowadays, especially the ones that root themselves in the comfortable space of comfort. By that I mean films which fail to take you on an adventure.
Fortunately, this film shreds every Oscar contender apart with an all-round amazing set of filmmaking.

All of the actors are perfectly cast, especially Lubna Azabal, who reminds me so much of what restraint can do in a performance, namely make a person gentile, fierce and gallant, simply through looks and implications.

The film is so well written to the point where I can excuse any minor flaws. A film with a spectrum this wide and an ambition so great may for me be permitted a few technicalities to bring across its message, and boy, does it pay off.
I always wonder how a screenwriter would approach a mystery. Where would he start? Does he write the ending first and work his way around and to the core? How do you keep your audience guessing?
And I still don't know how he did it, but Villeneuve adapted a play and made it something way more thought-provoking and attention-grabbing than any other mystery of any kind in a long time.

The production design in this film is another marvel, because it is something so typical to Villeneuve's style. Everything looks sullied, deteriorated or dark.
His attention to detail in cities, landscapes, and time frames is incredible, additionally giving me as a viewer something I love: space. The scope of this film is huge, it gives us room and reason to interpret and relish in his masterful wide shots.
And the same goes for the rest of his excellent direction. The brilliant photography once again did not fail to ignite an eerie feeling in my gut. And what that feeling culminated to, in the final twenty minutes, was one of the most unforgettable moments I had ever experienced in a film.

Incendies is the definition of haunting. I can't sleep now, yet I loved every second of it.
Although it does drag at some points in the story, showing some convenient plot holes, and the non-linear storyline does not always work to its advantage, I cannot fault it greatly because everything else just struck the right beat and told a story I won't be forgetting soon.
Profound, subtle and with a very hard-hitting message about legacy, violence, religion and desperation.

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