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.
I 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, Hervé (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 Hervé. 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.
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.