Saturday, 28 March 2015

REVIEW - RESPIRE (MELANIE LAURENT)


Pause for a moment, as Melanie Laurent does not appear inclined to do, and observe where this filmmaker places her camera. It's simple innovation like this that makes Respire such a rewarding watch, even for all of its faults. The artistry in communicating so much, so subtly, purely by the choice of camera position - we thus become attuned to Charlie's world, observant of the influences present in her life. Would that we only knew how they influenced her, and this becomes one situation wherein we actually are appreciative of such a straightforward narrative. Alas, for all that Laurent brings to Respire, and she likely makes of Anne-Sophie Brasme's novel as strong a film as anyone could have, she never lingers long enough to provide real insight, nor even seems to attempt to. We remain attuned to the bigger picture, to physical surroundings and to emotional context, but at a detachment from what's driving these people to actually do what they do. Nevertheless, Laurent makes her thematic intentions both plain and clear to see and somewhat obscured, depending on the intention - its richness is apparent on immediate consumption, but may not be able to develop over time. The film is over sooner than you'd expect, though maintains a lively pace as a result of its brevity; what occurs is both wholly prosaic and, eventually, melodramatic in a genuinely shocking, almost preposterous manner over the final half hour. The performances, deftly done, will keep a firm hold on your sympathies, and the immense promise that Laurent shows in certain aspects of her mise-en-scene will keep a firm hold on your interest.