Demonlover – Unseen Movie Marathon

unseenmovies

This is the first of at least 224 planned posts in which I shall slowly work through my DVD collection. The reason for doing this is first and foremost to admit that I have a problem. I buy way too many DVDs that I want to watch but never watch. On the morning of May 24th, 2009 I owned 224 DVDs which I have never seen. I have never seen them theatrically, on television, on VHS, on Beta or even by means of the DVD which I own and possess on the shelf. My plan is to watch at least one of these each week. If I’m lucky I will see more than one but to keep this reasonable considering my time restraints one a week is pretty good. I will write up my thoughts on each movie.

I can’t be the only one with this problem and I hope that by doing this I will encourage you to watch your unwatched DVDs instead of going out and catching some movie that is forgettable. As an example instead of going to see Wolverine this past weekend I decided to sit down and watch Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover.

So I now present to you the first of hopefully many reviews.

Demonlover

Demon Lover DVD CoverI purchased Demonlover a few months ago when a local DVD rental shop was going out of business. I could not remember who had recommended this Olivier Assayas film to me but I knew it had been recommended and since everything was cheap I figured why not throw it in the collection. I am really glad that I did purchase it as it is a movie that I think I’m going to revisit a few times. I am sure that subsequent viewings of Demonlover are going to show me more and more little pieces of information that I missed on the initial viewing. Demonlover throws you immediately into the mix with very little explanation and it really pays off.

Demonlover opens with Dianne (Connie Nielson) taking notes for her employer, HervĂ© (Charles Berling) on a late night flight while everyone else sleeps. The next morning we watch as Dianne drugs another woman on the plane. By the time the plane lands we learn that the woman she drugged was a supervisor (Dominique Reymond) and business partner to HervĂ©. From here on in we watch as high stakes business espionage plays out in front of us. I do not want to spoil any of the plot so I’ll just say that it involves companies competing over a new form of pornographic anime that is set to revolutionize the industry.

While I really enjoyed watching the twists and turns of the plot what truly won me over for the first two thirds of Demonlover are the quiet moments. Assayas does an excellent job of balancing the fast paced plot with these quite moments. He is willing to give his characters time to breathe when necessary. The tension is always their but you get the feeling that they are able to escape for short periods and I really enjoyed this as they some of the most beautiful scenes in the movie.

Demonlover

Unfortunately, I do feel that Demonlover continues on a bit longer than necessary. There is a scene between Dianne and another employee that really should be the conclusion. I understand that he wanted to make sure everyone watching would understand what the movie has to say but by this point I feel that anyone who has been paying attention should be able to come to the conclusion which Assayas wanted and the extra 20 or so minutes feels out of place and really comes across as a blunt hammer. This is especially true in the last couple of minutes which really felt like Assayas was not willing to trust his audience.

Overall though I really enjoyed Demonlover and I plan on revisiting this one in the future as I am sure I missed small pieces of information that will make it an even more fulfilling watch.





10 comments

  1. Wow, sounds like you started off the marathon with a winner!

    224 John? 224? Wow. Look forward to hearing what you think about more of the films. You can do it!

  2. It helps to have the entire Row Three crew telling me which ones I should watch first and yeah I really enjoyed the first 1 1/2 of Demonlover and if I would have shut it off right when I now know I should have it would have been a perfect movie. Unfortunately I didn't and the last half hour just felt so unnecessary but its still worth watching if you haven't seen it.

  3. Quite a task. I set myself a goal of watching a 100-film list of foreign films. That was…two years ago, and I think I've watched twelve of them. I fail. But maybe you'll inspire me to pick back up with that again!

    (And in my defense, the one I'm stuck on is Bela Tarr's eight-hour Satantango.)

  4. you have not seen Rachel Getting Married? I see our efforts of persuasion here at R3 fall on deaf ears even amongst contributing writers. It will like the combined number 2 film of last year, had you seen it I suspect it would have been number 1. for shame.

  5. Kurt Halfyard

    As always, it's nice to see Assayas get some love. His recent film SUMMER HOURS drops the usually genre-meddlings, but is almost a perfect film at what it does. Well worth looking for at the arthouse or the eventual DVD release.

  6. Wow! I don't own that many DVDs period, much less that I've never seen. Hmm…I need to get myself to the local pawn shops again. Good luck with your task! I'm interested to see what kind of movies you'll dig up.

    • @Matt S – You can check out the list I still have to watch at
      http://www.rowthree.com/johns-unseen-movie-collec…. I've also added a page with my overall current DVD Collection (not including collection disks and TV shows here.

      @Kurt – What are you doing? If you keep telling me about movies I'll never finish. ;)

      @Mike Rot – I haven't seen it because I just bought it on the weekend. Its probably about a 1/3 of the way down the list for when I want to watch it.

      @Jandy – Yeah I know that feeling. That is why I'm choosing the order that I watch them. If I started with something like Grave of the Fireflies (which I really want to watch but have trouble bringing myself to do it) it would take me months just to start.

  7. But Grave of the Fireflies is awesome! You're probably right, though – maybe I'll learn to give myself some freedom to skip when I watch through lists.

  8. Haha, nice. Someone else with the same problem.

    I look forward to following this series.

  9. I passed on Grave of the Fireflies recently, got it without realizing the context – may try again later but to many other movies to watch.

    John, I *love* that you put up all the 224 films and the list of all your DVDs! That is so much fun. I'm jealous though…600+! Wow. I think I have like, 125.

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