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CANNES – Ticking off a laundry list of French art film prerequisites – Seductive novelist, check! Gorgeous mistress, check! A dying patriarch, a country house and an inheritance, check! – while bringing nothing really new to the table, In a Rush (Au galop) reps a rather generic directorial debut for Gallic actor Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (The Father of My Children, Polisse). Featuring strong performances – especially from the filmmaker’s daughter, Alice (Summer Hours) – yet very little in terms of creativity and cinematic prowess, this Cannes Critics’ Week title should trot around fests and Francophone territories, while major offshore play remains a stretch.
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40-something Paul (de Lencquesaing père) is an accomplished author with suicidal tendencies, as evidenced by an opening scene where he dangerously hangs off a bridge in Paris, staring into the abyss. But things quickly pick up when he stops by his publisher (Denis Podalydes, underused) and meets the irresistible Ada (Valentia Cervi), who’s already shacked up with the sweet-faced businessman, Christian (Laurent Capelluto), with whom she has a daughter, Zoe (Enola Romo-Renoir).
Paul being Paul (or just being French), such a fact does little to deter him from pursuing his conquest, although the sudden death of his father (Bernard Verley) and its effect on his spirited mother (Marthe Keller) throws a few curveballs his way. Soon enough, though, Paul and Ada begin their illicit relationship, which seems to consist mainly of the former admiring the latter’s physical attributes, and the latter admiring the former’s wit and intelligence. Such is the plight of the writer.
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As the plot points crisscross and Ada is eventually driven to choose between the two men she claims to love, both Paul and the narrative start to turn in circles, and there’s hardly enough traction in the characters – mostly Parisian archetypes – to keep things engrossing through the final reel. Slightly more palatable, though never fully developed, is the story between Paul’s smart-alecky daughter, Camille (de Lencquesaing fille), and a troubled soccer player (Ralph Amoussou) who winds up interned at a local psychiatric hospital.
If the cast in generally convincing and the tech credits passable, In a Rush never takes things far enough either emotionally or thematically to place it above the fray of any number of French dramedies that deal with sex, death and love – usually in that order. Since de Lencquesaing has already proved himself a worthy presence in the works of filmmakers like Maiwenn, Emmanuel Mouret and Mia-Hansen Love, one gets the impression here that his talent is best expressed on the other side of the lens.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Critics’ Week)
Production companies: Everybody On Deck, Herodiade
Cast: Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Valentina Cervi, Alice de Lencquesaing, Marthe Keller, Xavier Beauvois, Laurent Capelluto, Ralph Amoussou, Denis Podalydes
Director, screenwriter: Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
Producers: Gaelle Bayssiere, Didier Creste
Director of photography: Jean-Rene Duveau
Production designer: Antoine Platteau
Music: Emmanuel Deruty
Costume designer: Judy Shrewsbury
Editor: Marion Monnier
Sales Agent: Pyramide International
No rating, 93 minutes
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