The French title, 'Légitime défense', was translated on the screening I watched into 'The law of violence'. This put me in mind of Cronenberg's 'History of violence'; parallels surfaced right through Pierre Lacan's film. Each film held my attention but in strikingly different ways. Cronenberg provided an intense feed of sensational episodes of a threatening, a violent or a sexual nature, with lurking, dark family issues permeating the mix. But this was achieved, in view, at the cost of impoverished coherence and credibility of the story line. Is that a pedantic criticism? Is 'story' relatively irrelevant in films of an 'action' genre? Lacan shows that this need not be the case. He maintains attention through exactly the same devices as Cronenberg but not at the expense of a believable narrative thread. Believable, and as a consequence, identifiable with: with Lacan's movie I couldn't help asking myself, 'Christ - what the hell would I do in that situation?' That level of artistic intimacy wasn't reached, for me, by the Cronenberg film.
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