Demonlover

"Bad"

Demonlover Review


"Demonlover" features a score by art-punk band Sonic Youth that really captures the essence of the film: It's deliberately abrasive, rapidly pulsing electronic black noise that is designed to put the viewer on edge but ultimately signifies nothing.

A discombobulated, pretentious, psycho-sexual excursion into the cold-blooded, under-the-table fringe of 21st century corporate intrigue, it's a self-important drama in which poisoning, kidnapping, breaking and entering, ransacking, blackmail and brainwashing are all in a day's work -- and all add up to an unimaginative, exploitive shock ending.

The concoction of French filmmaker Olivier Assayas ("Irma Vep"), "Demonlover" stars Connie Nielsen ("Gladiator," "One Hour Photo") as Diane, a second-tier envoy for a Paris-based conglomerate that is negotiating a production and distribution deal with a Japanese maker of animated porn.

Ambitious and aloof but insecure, Diane begins the film by having a superior poisoned, abducted and mugged for confidential papers, thereby clearing the path for her to take over the negotiations -- and this is the character with whom we're supposed to identify. It's soon clear that somebody is on to Diane, and paranoia barely has a chance to set in before she's being subverted by an unscrupulous colleague (Charles Berling) and the devious personal assistant (Chloe Sevigny) of the woman she poisoned.

As multifarious boardroom and bedroom headgames unfold, revealing illicit conspiracies around every corner (even Diane is not what she seems), Assayas permeates the film with discomforting extreme close-ups of pornographic imagery that are often suggestive of rape. At one point, his handheld digital-video camera lingers on a computer screen as a character surfs room to room on a sexual torture web site that has an underground connection to one of the companies involved in the negotiations.

What the director doesn't seem to recognize is that his actors are perfectly capable of building tension to a boiling point without such blatantly manipulative visual aides.

Even though she comes across with a very cold beauty, Nielsen gives Diane a nebulous layer of vulnerability that makes her seem in peril every moment of the film -- even when she thinks she has the upper hand. Berling ("Ridicule," "L'ennui") is barely recognizable with a shaved head, a three-day scruff, and wicked glare that exudes animal sexuality in a way that is at once alluring and repellant.

Seemingly a meek personal assistant, Sevigny provides her character a dangerous unpredictability, and Gina Gershon ("Bound") is so unnervingly perverted as an American merger capitalist that even though she meets a possibly deadly fate, you wouldn't be surprised if she turned up again later.

But as the story disintegrates into bewildering conspiratorial miscellany -- with gunpoint abductions, double-crosses, murder, desperate escapes from secret imprisonments and multiple twists of fate, many of which leave oodles of unanswered questions -- the performances lose all their nuance, and fall victim to Assayas' quest for unnerving intensity.

He accomplishes his mission, but to the detriment of the movie since he's clearly more interested in shock value and vague, meaningless allusions to some unspoken, deep-seated cultural malignancy than he is in telling a coherent or compelling story.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 6th November 2002

Box Office USA: $39.3k

Distributed by: Palm Pictures

Production compaines: Citizen Films, Cofimage, Elizabeth Films, Group Dataciné, Berns Brothers Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 39

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Marie-Jeanne Pascal

Starring: as Diane de Monx, as Hervé Le Millinec, as Elise Lipsky, as Karen, as Henri-Pierre Volf, as Elaine Si Gibril, as Edward Gomez, Thomas M. Pollard as Avocat américain, Abi Sakamoto as Kaori - la traductrice, Naoko Yamazaki as Eiko, as Shoji (as Nao Ohmori), Jean-Pierre Gos as Verkamp - Contact Diane, Julie Brochen as Gina - Amie de Diane, Randall Holden as Ray, Alexandre Lachaux as Erwan - Broker #1, Ludovic Schoendoerffer as Luis - Broker #2, as Chauffeur d'Elise, Gilles Masson as Homme au chien, Pascal Oumaklouf as Agresseur #1 de Karen, Bruno Soldani as Agresseur #2 de Karen, Arnaud Mathey-Dreyfus as Assistant de Hervé, Stéphane Lévy as Assistant de Volf, Jurgen Doering as Styliste, Alexis Pivot as Frankie, Eric Weinberg as Père de Frankie, Laurent Jacquet as Chauffeur de Volf, Papis Gadio as Ami d'Elise, Danny Evangelista as Valet de chambre Volf, Carmelita Tuazan as Gouvernante, Margot Kansten as Fille Volf #1, Charlotte Kansten as Fille Volf #2, Paul Michineau as Voiturier Hôtel Raphaël, Arnaud Guenet as Garçon d'étage Hôtel Raphaël, Marie Modiano as Jeune fille au restaurant, Xinjie Ge as Serveuse restaurant, Tarô Suwa as Japon - Avocat #1, as Japon - Avocat #2, as Japon - Travesti au Yellow Club, Emiko Mokudai as Japon - Masseuse, Toru Kodama as Japon - Homme d'affaires, Romantica as Japon - Danseuses au Yellow Club, E. Male as Japon - VJs au Yellow Club, Hugo Aguilera as Mexique - Homme de main #1, Julian Bucio as Mexique - Homme de main #2, Mauricio Martínez as Mexique - Homme de main #3, George W. Bush as Himself (archive footage), Arnaud Cafaxe as Salary man (uncredited), Jean-Charles Dumay as Henri (uncredited), Karine Lima as Zora (uncredited)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.