Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.
Robert De Niro
Madrid, in the seventeenth century. Abandoned at the doorstep of a monastery, Ambrosio has been brought up by the Capucin Friars. After becoming a friar himself, he becomes an unrivaled ... See full summary »
American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter. When things don't go according to plan, he ends up in a shady hotel in the suburbs, having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. Then Margit, a beautiful, mysterious stranger walks into his life and things start looking up. Their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events... as if an obscure power was taking control of his life. Written by
The Woman in the Fifth is the first film from director Pawel Pawlikowski in seven years, since the very solid My Summer of Love made Emily Blunt a major name, and it's a major disappointment. Adapted by Pawlikowski from a novel by Douglas Kennedy, it stars Ethan Hawke as a college professor who flies to Paris to try and be with his daughter. On a bus there he gets robbed and is forced to stay in a seedy hotel owned by the menacing Sezer (Samir Guesmi), who gives him a job as a gatekeeper in order to get him some money so he can stay.
This is how I would describe the basic plot, but really the film is all over the place. Hawke's professor, Tom Ricks, also finds himself engaging in an affair with the seductive Margit, portrayed by Kristin Scott Thomas. Along with that he is constantly trying to connect with his daughter, despite the protests of his ex-wife, and starts up a flirting relationship with Sezer's girlfriend, Ania (Joanna Kulig) and he gets into a beef with his neighbor at the hotel. Pawlikowski opens up so many doors that when he has to start closing them, which happens quickly with the brief 80 minute running time, things get incredibly cluttered. At first I thought that the Margit character was very under-written, although Thomas plays it with the appropriate mix of sex and mystery, but when revelations emerge in the final act it starts to make sense.
Unfortunately that's about the only thing that makes sense, as Pawlikowski brings us several plot turns that come practically out of nowhere and feel as though they are from an entirely different film. The Woman in the Fifth starts off solidly, and is incredibly well-shot all the way through, but when it has to progress itself it starts to fall off the rails until it eventually collapses completely in it's final act. It seems like Pawlikowski knows what he wants his film to be, but he can't get it to that place in any organic fashion. It's a bizarre journey, and not one that I would recommend.
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