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Sascha Alexander Gersak
All ingredients present for a perfect mystery, augmented with sublime acting. But the net result did not live up to its promises due to faulty logic in the story
I saw this film at Noordelijk Filmfestival 2011 (in Leeuwarden, province of Friesland NL). It starts as a Mystery, when Martha's husband commits suicide for unknown reasons and without leaving a note. We accompany Martha on her first days after the shock, while she tries to backtrack his motives. She finds out that everything she thought she knew about him, was untrue. His job, his recent PhD, his new assignment in Marseille that starts the story, all prove to be lied. His professor who was said to have recommended him for his new assignment, only remembers him from an exam three years ago. She even puts posters on bulletin boards around the institute where he was supposed to work, but all tracks run dead. A full mystery remains. So far so good.
During her research she meets Alexander working on the same institute as her late husband. He attracts her attention due to a specific gesture she thought familiar. She invites him home that same day (and in her bed, but he leaves). She follows him around, attends his lectures, and soon treats him as a substitute husband. Understandable, but what happens next defies my logic. It starts when a former friend of Alexander points out a striking likeness between him and Martha's late husband, as appearing on the posters distributed by Martha. A second interruption in my logic happened when Marseille turns up again, this time as a new assignment for Alexander.
All in all, the first half of the film was brilliant, especially due to Martha's acting when put through a broad collection of emotions, while experiencing the change away from a seemingly happy couple, via hearing of his suicide, and later when researching for the truth. Scenes were kept relatively short but long enough to make clear what was going on. This kept the story line streaming, letting us wonder all the time what would happen next.
I love mysteries where the solution is not obvious upfront, and where the development can scatter in any direction. This film seemed to be one in that category, but then the logical flow broke on a few occasions. Maybe I did not pay attention and missed a few clues, but the abrupt ending finished it for me. I could have given a very high score for the plot and the acting, but I have to subtract many points for loosing my grip on the story. When this happens I blame the film makers, and not primarily myself. In my opinion, this could easily be avoided with some relatively minor changes. Pity for all the fine ingredients that were ready to be picked up.
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