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The Crack Magazine



Director: Julia Docournau

Stars: Agatha Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Garance Marillier

French writer-director Julia Docournau’s follow-up to teen cannibal picture ‘Raw’ is an unapologetically extreme slice of pure cinema likely to inspire disgust, horrified fascination and bafflement. Actor-model Agatha Rouselle is Alexia, a young woman who has been obsessed with cars since an accident she had as a child which resulted in her getting a titanium plate in her head. She now works as an exotic dancer at motor shows. After a violent encounter with a male admirer, Alexia goes into hiding disguising herself as boy. She winds up under the care of Vincent (Lindon) the kindly chief of a firefighting unit whose son had gone missing some time ago. Vincent becomes a kind of surrogate father and it’s unclear if he suspects Alexia’s true nature and identity. It’s an almost unquantifiable picture, an unhinged (s)mash-up of ‘Crash’ (the Cronenberg one), ‘Demon Seed’ and Shinya Tsukamoto’s cyberpunk body horror ‘Tetsuo The Iron Man’ in a very violent and relentlessly propulsive package. It’s not entirely clear what it all means, although there’s certainly some musings on grief, family relations, and gender fluidity in here, and while it’s at times too self-consciously edgy, it also feels genuinely transgressive. Ruben Impens’ photography is an intense blizzard of chrome and flashing lights soundtracked to banging brutal techno, and the cast fully commit to the material with the ever-reliable Lindon’s grieving dad managing to anchor the drama in something approaching recognisable human behaviour.

David Willoughby

Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm