Saturday, 28 November 2015


Maiwenn le Besco's Mon Roi likely began its existence as a promising conceptual work, an intense and intensely-focused depiction of a relationship from conception to culmination. I mean, I don't actually know that this is how Mon Roi's existence began, but how else to justify the film that it eventually became? Formally, thematically, artistically, this is an entirely rote relationship drama, with few signs (if any) of whatever conceptual impetus ever begat such a work. Something must have gone wrong somewhere, right? Observing this couple from conception to culmination is surely the more satisfying the more invested you are in said couple. That's a deeply subjective process; for me, I felt intrigued about and frustrated by Emmanuelle Bercot's Tony, though at least I felt something constructive - I felt passionate disdain for Vincent Cassel's Georgio, and le Besco's apparent assertion that we're bound to forgive his immense shortcomings due to his charming good humour and joie de vivre is misplaced. From there, Mon Roi develops quickly into one of the year's most bizarre, baffling stories, as Tony is submitted to extraordinary levels of emotional abuse by her partner, and barely bats an eye! I kept willing her to sue the cunt, until I finally recalled that... she's a lawyer, a detail which both I and, seemingly, le Besco had forgotten. You could impose upon Mon Roi that it is a film about our ability as human beings to put ourselves through unconscionable punishment for the sake of others, or an opaque comment on the opacity of a woman's heart - good for you if that's what you take away from it (truly, good for you), but I'm not so keen to give the filmmakers so much credit. If the character development is shaky, it's far from the actors' fault, though, as Cassel impresses (in a role that he could do just as well in his sleep, albeit), and Bercot astounds, misjudging not one miniature moment in a highly demanding role.