After Curling, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear and Bestiare, Denis Côté is firmly established as one of the most original and daring filmmakers on the Quebec scene. His latest feature represents another step forward in accomplishment, and perhaps, towards the mainstream. It’s a psychological thriller, a portrait of a successful businessman whose arrogance slowly begins to crumble under the duress of coping with his wife’s breakdown.
Is her mute passivity actually a form of protest? Or is it a kind of karmic payback for Boris’s infidelities, greed, and narcissism? That’s the disturbing claim of a strange messenger (played by Leos Carax-favourite Denis Lavant) who encroaches on Boris’s country retreat. Once he gets the idea inside his head, he can’t shake it out - and his enviable existence starts to seem uncomfortably empty…
Both a seemingly straightforward tale and an oddly enigmatic fable which draws on Greek mythology, Boris sans Beatrice could be seen as class satire, but it’s more rewarding - if more challenging - to acknowledge some affinities with the privileged, complacent Boris than simply to condemn him out of hand. He may be a cold fish but his insistence on confronting the world on his own terms is a common failing, after all. Atmospheric, cooly paced, and artfully composed, the movie casts quite a spell.
"Utterly original." **** Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette
At first glance you might assume you are watching a war movie. After all, the setting is contemporary Afghanistan and the protagonist is Jeremie Renier’s French army officer, commander of a small squad on a remote outpost in Wakhtan Valley, near the Pakistan border. In fact the fighting has subsided here, and while relations with the local villagers are tense there appears to be no immediate danger.
All the more perplexing, then, when one of Captain Bonassieu’s men disappears from his observation point in the middle of the night. The soldier on duty with him must surely have fallen asleep, but it’s not at all clear whether he’s gone AWOL, or been captured by the enemy. Then another soldier vanishes. Again, without a trace. And little by little the true nature of Clement Cogitore’s fascinating metaphysical mind-twister begins to reveal itself.
"Clever, accomplished, arresting." Guy Lodge, Variety