Les Herbes Folles (Wild Grass) -- 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.

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CANNES -- Her wigged-out, burnt-orange hair and black leather pants suggests she's the lead in "Cats," but this feline-fatale brings very bad luck. Whipped up from a novel, "L'Incident," "Les Herbes Folles" (Wild Grass) is a polished ditty from revered French director Alain Resnais. He's revered and he's French, and that's the likely explanation for inclusion of this demi-divertissement in the Competition.

In this slight cinematic, Andre Dussolier stars as Georges, a 50-ish, affluent gent whose decreasing mental state relegates him to house-husband for his younger wife. Georges is obtuse, and often does not connect his thoughts. He seemingly has trouble with the everyday, such as when he finds a woman's wallet and attempts to return it to her. It's a troubling process for Georges and more of a trouble for the woman, Marguerite (Sabine Azema), when he enters her life through this side incident.

Respectable-looking Georges is more than a little unhinged. He frightens Marguerite, a successful dentist and independent woman who flies her own plane. In an interesting twist, we soon suspect that Marguerite may be a bit of a fatal attraction: She shows up at his house late at night, neglects her patients, scares her partner/best friend.

Narratively, "Wild Grass" is a fractured romance, that never jells on any level, except for the backdrop visuals. Visually scrumptious, as if culled from the pages of good-taste magazines, it has the appeal of a designer catalog, and also the depth.

To the cineastes here at the fest, the homages du cinema (,a revival-house movie theater, as well as a blast from the 20th Century Fox theme, etc.) are attractive elements.

Indeed, filmmaker Alain Resnais has graced the frame with a lush look and surfaced it with an inviting glossy sheen, but never properly connected the characters to a cohesive narrative plot. Just because the characters are erratic does not mean the narrative should be. Structured as a dark-psychological romance, it's merely a poseur, a walk-through of unpredictable behavior.

Yet, at its roots, "Wild Grass" is merely a compilation of eye-candy fluff. It distracts with its warm visuals, but never fully fleshes out. With its thin narrative and elliptical story jumps, "Wild Grass" crashes and burns in a pretentious and unsatisfying manner.

Festival de Cannes -- Competition
Sales: Orly Films

Cast: Sabine Azema, Andre Dussollier, Anne Consigny, Emmanelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric, Micvhel Vuillnermoz
Director: Alain Resnais
Screenwriters: Alex Reval, Zlaurent Herbiet
Based on the novel "L'Incident" by Christian Gailly
Producer: Jean-Louis Livi.
Director of photography: Eric Gautier
Production designer: Jacques Saulnier
Music: Mark Snow
Costume designer: Jackie Budin
No rating, 104 minutes