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|Index||63 reviews in total|
"Sur mes lèvres" is the first Audiard's movie which gained national and
international recognition : it depicted the relationship between two
abnormal people, and how they interact with their direct environment,
i.e. their work.
Audiard's movies are quite interesting and unique, as he is always using the same method : first acting as a sociologist, then as a psychologist. Finally, giving free thinking to the watcher.
In this very movie, we are first getting acquainted with the job's situation in France : quite open when it comes to communication (we've got a deaf and an ex-convict in the firm )but sclerosed when it comes to the issue of real equality.
The psychologic part begins when these two people are meeting : apart from their mutual attractiveness, something else is going on ; what ? you've got all your mind to think about it !
A super, unusual film from Audiard, Read My Lips is a pulpy, lonely-
hearts thriller. It's perfect for the handsomely grizzled charisma of
Vincent Cassel and features a marvellously contained performance from
Emanuelle Devos. Devos is a recurring feature of Audiard in the same
way that KArin Viard pops up for Jean-Pierre Jeunet: unconventionally
beautiful (she's referred to by everyone as unattractive in this film),
versatile and capable of a subordinate profile.
This is almost the definition of her role as Carla, a put-upon office dogsbody, taunted by colleagues exploiting her deafness. Yet she finds an ami d'exploitation, if you like in Cassel's ex-con Paul. Each exploits the other's unconventional talents (theft and lip reading) to struggle through their respective situations and form an unconventionally romantic rapprochement. Devos/Audiard manage Carla's deafness and its attendant, warped inner world with discreet, stylish flair.
In this film (2001) Audiard is already clearly in control of his handling on tension, action and investing his frame with a truly visceral experience which will become the great hit - A Prophet - of nine years later. 7/10
Well, what can I say having just watched this fantastic film, when my nerves are still jangling! Jacques Audiard the director must be making quite a name for himself in France, and rightly so. Vince Cassel is no Tom Cruise and Emmanuelle Devos is no Penelope Cruz either, but these two are fantastic actors, and this is a taut and compelling thriller which starts off slowly with some clever character building and then starts to put tension on tension to a wonderful climax. Others have written about the plot, so I will not say more than everyone in this film plays their role to perfection, the director, the actors, right down to the cameraman, and everything seems so real, no stupid gun play, the fighting when it happens is so credible, the expressions, the emotions, it is almost as you are there as a spectator. Do yourself a favour, get the DVD, a bottle of wine, turn the lights low, take the phone off the hook and immerse yourself in this Hitchcockian thriller :)
Most so-called psychological thrillers are in fact contrived and psychologically implausible; "psychotic thrillers" might be a better way of describing them. But Jacques Audiard's 'Read my Lips' is a genuine example of the breed, a compelling story of how a bullied, repressed deaf woman is drawn to a mutually manipulative relationship with a violent criminal. Emmanuelle Devos is excellent in the lead role, subtly conveying the change in her character as the story progresses; Vincent Cassel, meanwhile, as the criminal, appears to be auditioning for the job of the next Gerard Depardieu, playing the shaggy old Frenchman in a role that seems light years away from his fresh-faced student in 'L'Appartament'. It's good; I recommend the same director's 'A Self-Made Hero' even more highly.
This movie just pulls you so deeply into the two main characters. I popped it into my laptop without even reading the cover (let alone reviews) and was intrigued for two solid hours. Two lost ships from two different worlds collide. The sexual tension that brews between a secretary and a criminal is almost palpable even without hardly any physical contact. Toward the end I couldn't decide which I wanted more: Our hero and heroine to pull off their caper or simply consummate their passion. RML could've done without a curious subplot and a traditional 100 minutes would have been plenty. I'm nitpicking though. After a series of Netflix, Blockbuster and local library duds this movie restored my faith in great film making.
I watched this film not expecting much and not knowing anything much
about it. I loved it. A very good, tight plot, an intriguing hook in
the form of the ugly, fat, deaf girl and the ex-con, and a pace that
kept things flowing without being hurried.
A much, much better film than the same director's De battre mon coeur s'est arreté, which was boring and unbelievable.
The only thing that didn't quite work was that the supposedly ugly, fat girl was neither ugly nor fat: solid, certainly, and far from conventionally beautiful, but with so much character in her face that she took over the screen whenever she was on it. Superb. I wish she was in more films, and better ones than she generally is. I've seen a bit of Gilles' Wife and a bit of The Moustache, and they both looked like rubbish, and I've seen all of De battre mon coeur s'est arreté, and that certainly is rubbish. She seems to have a few coming up, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Carla works for a property developer's where she excels in being
unattractive, unappreciated and desperate. She is also deaf.
Her boss offers to hire in somebody to alleviate her heavy workload so she uses the opportunity to secure herself some male company. Help arrives in the form of Paul, a tattooed hoodlum fresh out of prison and clearly unsuited to the mannered routine of an office environment.
An implicit sexual tension develops between the two of them and Carla is determined to keep him on despite his reluctance to embrace the working week. When Carla is edged out of an important contract she was negotiating by a slimy colleague she exploits Paul's criminality by having him steal the contract back. The colleague quickly realises that she's behind the robbery, but when he confronts her, Paul's readiness to punch people in the face comes in handy too - but this thuggery comes at a price.
Paul is given a 'going over' by some mob acquaintances as a reminder about an unpaid debt. He formulates a plan which utilises Carla's unique lip reading abilities to rip-off a gang of violent bank robbers. It's now Carla's turn to enter a frightening new world.
The fourth feature from director Jacques Audiard, 'READ MY LIPS' begins as a thoroughly engaging romantic drama between two marginalised losers only to shift gears halfway through into an edgy thriller where their symbiotic shortcomings turn them into winners. The leads are excellent; effortlessly convincing us that this odd couple could really connect. Carla's first meeting with Paul is an enjoyable farce in which she attempts to circumnavigate his surly reticence and jailbird manners only to discover that he was, until very recently, a jailbird. Emmanuelle Devos, who plays Carla, has that almost exclusive ability to go from dowdy to gorgeous and back again within a frame. Vincent Cassel plays Paul as a cornered dog who only really seems at home when he's receiving a beating or concocting the rip-off that is likely to get him killed.
Like many French films, 'READ MY LIPS' appears, at first, to be about nothing in particular until you scratch beneath the surface and find that it's probably about everything. The only bum note is a subplot concerning the missing wife of Paul's parole officer; a device that seems contrived only to help steer the main thrust of the story into a neat little feelgood cul-de-sac.
It was the French 'New Wave' of the 60's that first introduced the concept of 'genre' to film making and I've always felt that any medium is somewhat compromised when you have to use a system of labels to help define it; so it's always a pleasure to discover a film that seems to transcend genre, or better still, defy it.
What is very French about this film is the time taken to establish the two leading characters. This might require a bit of patience, especially since neither is "attractive" in the typical Hollywood definition of such. However, once the "heist" kicks in, the film rushes forward quickly, perhaps at times too quickly. But it is a real rollercoaster ride and if you don't look too closely it is all quite believable. The kind of film that you know Hollywood would have botched up.
I use the word "entertainment" on purpose, because the film is neither
overly quirky or highly intellectual - some may expect this from every
French film. Suffice to say it is heist thriller and modern love story and
is satisfies in both areas. The leads are excellent, with Vincent Cassel in
a more laid back role than his hood from Doberman, but a league away from
the shock of Irreversible. He plays a recently released jailbird looking for
a break and a simple life.
The film is seen from the viewpoint of the deaf female heroine and dowdy secretary, played by the perfectly good looking Ms Devos, who could do with some romance.
A sub-plot about a parole officer appears to have suffered from bad editing as it doesn't quite make itself clear, and certainly some of the plot is nearer wish fulfillment than realism, but a great film nonetheless.
Jean-Jacques' career began with his essay answer to a prize question: civilization makes us evil. This intelligent and exciting movie supports that argument. In that sense it repeats a theme common to French films: society is real, identity is a construction, freedom is criminal. Here the idea is treated literally. Both main characters find themselves, and each other, only when breaking rules. This discovery may well hold true in France; at any rate, it's quite romantic.
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