Don't Look Back -- Film Review

Benjamin Walker
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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

Festival de Cannes -- Out of Competition
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"Don't Look Back" begins promisingly. Seemingly obsessed with surfaces, the camera restlessly searches for hints and clues among the fragments we see, even before we know there's a mystery. The eerily delicate music nicely complements the haunting visuals as we watch writer Jeanne (the understatedly lovely Sophie Marceau) in her daily life en famille.

After her novel is turned down by her publisher, Jeanne starts to feel, well, downright strange. She imagines that the kitchen table has been moved, and soon enough begins to doubt whether even her husband and her children are really hers. Ultimately, Jeanne starts to morph into another -- but actually the same -- Jeanne, played by the ever-ripe Monica Bellucci.

The problem is that Marceau, right before our eyes, physically turns into Bellucci, but only halfway, as they share two sides of the same face. At this point, all audiences will begin howling, and not in the good sense. The filmmakers have forgotten the old rule that what might make sense in written form can be utterly ridiculous when turned into a visual image. The woman Jeanne thought was her mother turns out to be a different woman. Ditto for her husband.

Once Jeanne completely morphs into Bellucci, she takes a trip to Italy to discover the "secret" of her childhood, one that manages the neat trick of being impenetrable and utterly silly at the same time.

Nevertheless a happy ending -- and this has to be seen to be believed -- shows Marceau and Bellucci, tortured spirits finally reconciled, cheerfully typing her memoir of childhood simultaneously on the same laptop, while sitting side by side grinning at each other.