'Le Secret' is a frustrating film. You know it must be doing something right because you walk away emotionally exhausted, and with the sense that you have seen something of the human condition expounded. At the same time it is wanting in enough ways to undermine its claim to greatness. It is wanting dynamically to such a large extent that, whilst it is a good script and a good story, it it is not a good film. And as a piece of narrative, it is inconclusive, and not in the sense that it terminates with a poignant and provocative question. Arguably this is a film which could be remade, utilising the same script and the same cast, but using different artistic and technical direction. The camerawork adds nothing to the film. It creates no tension, no atmosphere, does not enhance the mood or emulate the powerful experiences of the characters. It is flat, weak and pedestrian. The film lacks any geography and fails to resound the timing of events (essential in a film about this subject). In short, its elements are powerful, but its construction is poor. It lacks focus. The film treads a clumsy path between an intense emotional struggle that borders on the surreal, and an ambivalent realism. It achieves neither. The direction needs to be more decisive, it needs to choose one over the other; and it needs to employ the camera more effectively to realise it. There is no differentiation in the filming between the house of the lover and the family home. Additionally we get no sense of atmosphere of either one. There is none of the seduction in the former, or of tedium in the latter, that the protagonist might be feeling. Are we supposed to believe that Marie is having fantastic sex with Bill? If so, it is only through her inadequately exposed acting. What keeps Marie coming back? Only she knows. What is driving her to maintain this relationship? We can only speculate, because the film gives us little insight into the personalisation of her experience. Additionally, the conclusion is weak and vacillating. However, this film will undoubtedly touch a nerve with anyone who has been in a similar situation. It powerfully depicts the insidious destructiveness of infidelity on both the individual, the family, and to some extent society. To conclude, a wasted opportunity, with much unrealised potential.
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