Tuesday, 9 June 2015

REVIEW - ALLELUIA (FABRICE DU WELZ)


A horror film for an arthouse crowd - not that there aren't already plenty of these, but Alleluia so typifies this style of film that it could be taught as such in seminars. What this means is that the film thrives on its bloodlust, but director Fabrice du Welz can't bring himself to admit it, and so fills the film with teasing, ominous build-ups to his rabid, cathartic conclusions. An episodic film, separated into distinct but similar chapters, Alleluia's segments are linked by a study into escalating insanity, a surface-level investigation into what happens when two meek though unstable souls connect, the apparent banality of their individual characters only intensifying the shock of the crimes they come to commit. du Welz is not the sort of filmmaker to probe terribly deeply - indeed, he doesn't even trust in the validity of this (very real) scenario, and muddies it with sporadic suggestions of supernatural influence, in a typical attempt to pulp it up. This set-up is used as a springboard into intentionally upsetting scenes of emotional and physical cruelty, and the inevitability of the brutality at each chapter's end is engendered only by du Welz and co-writers Romain Protat and Vincent Tavier's design. There's no care toward complication, lest it disturb the purity of that design, and Alleluia is a simplistic, predictable, somewhat exploitative piece of work as a result. One must commend Lola Duenas for her performance, and she overcomes the difficulties in du Welz's creation to deliver a characterisation that's equally authentic and extreme. Technical credits are rote, with cinematography and score alike pursuing standard 'New Wave Extreme' blueprints.