The Apartment (1996) Poster

(1996)

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10/10
Formidable!
paul2001sw-115 January 2003
This is an astonishing film: a romantic thriller with a convoluted but perfectly constructed and devastatingly symmetrical plot, brilliantly buttressed by the use of recurring visual motifs. Everything in it is beautifully filmed: the women, the apartments; but more amazing is the devastating juxtapositioning of images, almost every scene has echoes of another. This is a story told in light, in colour, in many almost-parallels. Every time I watch it, it fills me with delight.

The acting is great too. Romane Bohringer is stunning as a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown: everything about her changes with her mood. Vincent Cassel plays a very different role to his part in La Haine; but no less excellently: shifty and sympathetic at the same time. And Monica Bellucci - ah!, Monica Bellucci, well, put simply, she plays (is?) the world's most perfect woman. There's one small scene about three quarters of the way through where she does nothing more than smile; yet in that instant, says more than hours of Hollywood junk.

One cannot do justice to this film without at least mentioning the superb, sequential climax: sad, shocking, ironic and subtle in turn. But if one moment captures the brilliance of this work, it's the scene at the start of this fabulous denouement, the prospect of which has been teasingly laid before us throughout the entire story. Yet when the moment comes, it is handled so delicately, so briefly, so deftly, that on reflection it makes you gasp. Only a director of staggering confidence would dare to underplay this vital point. But the confidence is justified. Cinema doesn't come much better than this.
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9/10
Fantastic!
Superunknovvn25 April 2004
"L'appartement" has to be among the best French films I have ever seen (along with "Hatred", also starring Vincent Cassel, and those great Gerard Dépardieu/Pierre Richard movies). Cassel and Bellucci are amazing in the leading roles. Aside from "Brotherhood Of The Wolves" and "Dobermann" I have not yet seen a bad movie with this couple. "L'appartement" sucks you in from the beginning and the twists and turns keep you thrilled until the very end. Fragment storytelling really hasn't worked this well since "Pulp Fiction". Let's just hope there won't be a godawful American remake of this unique romance/mystery-thriller. (EDIT: Guess what! A godawful American remake has been made!)!
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Don't be misled by "the French Single White Female" tag. This is a fascinating romantic thriller in the Hitchcock tradition.
Infofreak25 April 2003
I knew nothing about this movie after being recommended to watch it by a friend, but I decided to take a chance on it as I have come to really like Vincent Cassel ('La Haine', 'The Crimson Rivers', 'The Brotherhood Of The Wolf'), even if I don't always enjoy the movies he's in (e.g. 'Dobermann'), and the added attraction of the beautiful Monica Bellucci, Cassel's frequent co-star and former wife, didn't hurt any either. The packaging proclaimed 'The Apartment' to be "the French Single White Female", and while there is SOME comparisons between the two movies I think it gives the viewer quite misleading expectations, and is probably best ignored. 'The Apartment' is more of a mystery than a thriller, and doesn't rely on shock tactics. Fans of Alfred Hitchcock, especially 'Rear Window' and 'Vertigo', which it deliberately references, will really appreciate this movie. It isn't as blatant a homage as say, Brian De Palma's 'Sisters', 'Obsession' and 'Dressed To Kill', but the influence is obvious. Cassel plays a man on the eve of his marriage, who unexpectedly finds himself pursuing an old flame (Bellucci) that he has unfinished business with. His search for her eventually leads him to what he believes is her house, but he is then surprised to find it is a case of mistaken identity, and a completely different girl (Romane Bohringer) enters his life. Things however are not what they appear to be, but to reveal anymore of the fascinating twists and turns in the plot, most of which are revealed in flashback, would be extremely unfair! Suffice to say this is a multi-layered, consistently interesting mystery romance which I found to be entertaining and unpredictable. Bellucci looks wonderful, but acting wise Bohringer is the real find here, while Cassel continues to impress. He has genuine talent and charisma and seems destined to become a major international star one day. I believe an American remake of this movie is due anytime now, but I seriously doubt that it will be half as good as this, so try and see it if you can. Highly recommended.
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10/10
Get set for the emotional rollercoaster
lctorana4 November 2001
This is a fabulous film.

The plot is a good yarn, and is imaginatively told in a series of flashbacks and alternative points of view. What was deliberate, and what was coincidence? Who is in love with who?

You get the chance to put yourselves in the shoes of each of the characters in turn (sometimes literally), and this helps define each character to a satisfying depth.

With a bit of effort following the twists and turns, you can understand each of the characters; and key events in the film are reshot from the point of view of different people.

Take the opportunity if it comes again to your arthouse cinema; it looks good on the big screen.

More than keeping you guessing, the plot twists to such an extent that you just sit and watch what unfolds - I defy anyone to predict!

But more likely you will need more than one viewing - I saw this at the pictures on its original release three times, and it got better each time.

The acting was very good, with a standout performance by Romane Bohringer as Alice torn in three directions by the three other characters in the ensemble.

A classic. The second-best film of the 1990s.
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8/10
Intricate
howie739 January 2005
Forget the recent dire American remake which sadly tarnished the reputation of the French original by virtue of the director's involvement in both. This is a deftly- drawn romantic 90s noir with many twists and turns. It works best as a Gallic ode to Hitchcock's Rear Window, because the notion of voyeurism is the constant theme that fires the intricate screenplay. The story is stunningly realized, like a Picasso painting, offering multi-perspectives on the same event and demanding the viewer's participation throughout. The settings, music and haunting score are wonderful as well as the excellent contributions from the cast. Watch it more than once.
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6/10
Overlong,pretentious,utterly implausible
MrSqwubbsy2 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I love French cinema,vraiment,but this sort of slop gives it a bad name. For every zingy,stylish Diva there are sadly many more turkeys like this. Firstly,as others have pointed out,the actors are more given to pouting and exuding existential angst than actually filling out believable characters. I couldn't have cared less about a single one of them,which is a fatal flaw in any film in my book. Implausible,unsympathetic and nauseatingly narcissistic. Worst of all is Monica Bellucci ("ooh,isn't she so yummy?") who swans through the film to no great effect,her role merely to be absurdly gorgeous and act as a hollow erotic talisman for the archetypal passionate yet soft-headed French romantic lead,played by the gormless Cassel. God,I bet they made a riveting couple when they were married. I watched the movie over several sittings as it just did nothing to hold my interest. The flashbacks and changes in perspective succeeded in alienating me and muddying the already creaky plot and were presumably stuck in there to earn the director "cred points" rather than for any coherent artistic effect. Subsequently when it thankfully drew to its close,I was none the wiser about who did what and to whom. Or more importantly why? We are supposed to buy that old French canard (geddit?) about men and women losing their heads pour l'amour. Then again did Max ever really love Alice/Lisa/his fiancée? How did everyone afford to live in such high Parisian style when none appeared to do much work? Where did Alice get her money from anyway? Oh yes,she was a sometime actress as we saw in that superfluous sub-plot about the Midsummer Night's Dream production. Talk about cynically pandering to amateur critics to facilitate guff about " plays-within-plays" and so on! More proof of a director too interested in ticking "art-house film" boxes and flattering the intelligence of his overawed audience. Before the final conflagration in the eponymous flat,I still wondered if perhaps it was I who'd failed to match up to a fine and complex,multi-layered piece of movie-making. Then when I saw the vacant look on Lisa's face as her bloke torched the place followed by the clichéd slow-mo of Max's mate going backwards through the café window,the man behind the curtain was cruelly shown up. It wasn't me after all-this so-called art film is as much an imposter as Alice herself. And it should be put on a plane to Rome one-way forthwith.
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10/10
... has a terrific room for editing (DVD)
leplatypus11 March 2009
This sad romance is untellable because the director decides to break its narration and to offer the points of view of each characters. So, there are a lot of flashbacks, of re-shooting of the same scene. But, it would be an extraordinary moment of cinema to put all the fragments in order to see the result!

And it would worth it, because it's for me, just one the best French movie ever made!

It has everything:

Cast: first steps of Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel! Such a presence and such voices, even for a hard-of-hearing! It's symbolic for them to have fallen in love with this movie!

Directing: his camera is bright, alive, plays with the sets or can be mysterious with long close-up "à la David Lynch".

Cinematography: the light is beautiful, between gold and rust, like their love!

A never-seen before Paris: It's a Paris out-of-time of more accurately, a composite of a lot of districts! Huge search here! It's look like Gotham City, modern and old at the same time!

Music: Not the big orchestra but in perfect tune with the frames. And the song of Charles Aznavour made me discover this great singer!

Ah, … the story! As I said, it's a love story but rather tragic: Saying that love can be for nothing, that it doesn't make all people happy or isn't guaranteed for a sweet ending is great because this message isn't often told! Love is passion, which is derivative from the Latin "pain". You can suffer a lot when you are in love! Because of the Why .. ?, of the endless waiting, the lack of courage, the indecision.

And when you can ease yourself, fate, destiny, god (?), devil (?) can stab you in the back , just because you arrive too soon or too late, and above all, because love means 2 in a world of billions! A lot of things can happen and as much stories can be written! So, what's love?

Personally, I lived some moments like this: in a car with the dear one. Her mobile rings and you know it's her "special friend" whom she kisses goodbye (and not you, even if we are always together). So, you want to go out of this car to leave them together, to not hear the sweet but cruel words but you can't, because an amazing hard rain just started!

I found that this movie depicts those moments of tragedy as no one else!
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9/10
Don't watch this with your brains turned off
Ismaninb21 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I watched L'Appartement with my girlfriend, she sighed: "How complicated!" And she is right, of course. When you are used to simple, one-linear plots, especially violent hero vs crook schemes, L'Appartement is hard to follow. A couple of the negative reviewers here also have missed one or more important points. Other whine about the confusing flash backs. Come on! This is not the kind of movie from which you can leave to visit the toilet, come back and get hooked again within a few seconds. This one demands full concentration and a keen eye on details. Then it is really not that hard to figure out what's happening and when. The director has left more than enough clues in all scenes.

The first 3/4 of the movie centers about the question: why did Max and Lisa split? The film, as my girlfriend remarked, begins as a romantic lovestory, suggesting that two lost lovers will find each other again. Having experience with French movies, I predicted that the story pretty soon would get a sick twist and I was right. In the end of the first part it becomes clear, after many twists and turns, that Max and Lisa were manipulated by Alice. Max did not know, that Lisa had left and why. Lisa did not know, why Max did not contact her in Rome and left her without a trace, when she returned to Paris. The only one who did was Alice and she had her own reasons to keep her mouth shut.

After both Max and Lisa have found out the truth, the question of course becomes: can Alice's manipulations be undone? Well, of course not, time has passed by and things have changed.

Many European movies use a story telling technique I fully enjoy. There is no exposition of the basic conflict in the beginning, after which two (or more) interested parties try to decide in their own advantage. Instead the spectator is gradually fed with bits and pieces of the plot and hardly knows more than the main characters. L'Appartement is a fine and subtle example of this technique. In the first half Alice seems to be a side character; slowly it becomes clear, that she is key figure.

Acting is simply great. Vincent Cassel is perfect as the somewhat naive and impulsive character, who risks a secured life just to hunt a dream from the past. Monica Belucci is very beautiful of course, but also competent. Jean Paul Ecoffey provides the necessary comical touch. Romane Bohringer is very convincing as the neurotic woman, plagued by feelings of guilt and regret.

The only reason I did not gave it a 10 is the somewhat unsatisfying end. Of course it was necessary because of the desired symmetry. After all the events Max is exactly on the point where the movie begun, only wiser and sadder. Alice has paid for her sins. But still the little twists on the airport are a bit artificial. Max too easily exchanges Lisa for Alice; Alice too easily decides to reject Max, who has been her dream for so long; Max too easily returns to his fiancée. But then again, I don't know how how this could be achieved without sacrificing the elegant symmetry. I guess sometimes artists have to give up realism for beauty.
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A tangled tale worth unravelling
Geofbob17 July 2001
Stylish, erotic and complex, Gilles Mimouni's only film to date appears at first sight to be quintessentially French, but has links to American identity-themed, noirish thrillers, such as Preminger's Laura and Hitchcock's Vertigo. (I'm also not so sure as other postings that all the locations and interiors are actually Parisian; the credits indicate that a lot of the movie was made in Spain.)

Max (Vincent Cassel) is a successful, young executive, engaged to be married, who catches a fleeting glimpse of an ex-lover, Lisa (Monica Bellucci), and immediately drops plans to travel to Tokyo, in order to find her. But, instead, he finds another woman (Romane Bohringer), bearing a resemblance to Lisa, with whom he starts an affair, while still hoping to find Lisa.

The story is told in an extremely fragmented manner, jumping backwards and forwards in time, with hair-style, clothing and sometimes weather providing clues to the sequence of events. By the end of the film almost every i has been dotted, and t crossed, so that theoretically it should be possible to re-edit the movie so that it is linear. But as well as being a duller movie, this would lose what I see as one of its main themes - that memories, fuelled by imagination, can be more powerful than mundane reality. Another theme seems to be that not everybody gets what they deserve, and life can be cruel. Generally, I see the film as being bleaker and more amoral than do some IMDb postings.

The acting, camerawork, sets, music and, of course, the editing are all first rate. This is a perfect film to rent, so that baffling bits (or all) of it can be replayed.
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10/10
Le Apartment Rouge
Svengali-200110 June 2004
I watched this film for the second time tonight after about three years and it was as wonderful as before...

There are more than a dozen modern stunning French films from en couer de hiver to the three colours trilogy and all of them are special. This film is one of them. A true delight with so many great things going for it from the homage to Hitchcock to two beautiful ladies in Romane and Monica. While Monica is very beautiful, Romane is a very sexy lady and steals many of the scenes she inhabits.

I am not sure why people think this film is convoluted as the scenes are such a perfect blend of past and present acting as a counterpoint to the characters' own remarkable journey that the film simply flows and you barely realise that 116 minutes of beauty and mystery have left the viewed enchanted and bewitched.

Like most French and European films this story would never translate across the Atlantic as no studio could capture the magic without throttling the life out of it with the Hollywood bleaching common to most movies that become lost in translation. Americans make brilliant films, but not of this type... perhaps if they let someone like a young Polanski work on it then maybe they would not totally butcher an English version...

For those who do not watch subtitled films you will spend a lifetime in ignorant bliss. For those who can read then you would be spiting yourself to miss films like this...

I would describe this as Neo-Franco-Noir, but only to cheese off the reviewer who called this film elitist. I think I saw him doing an add for four-and-twenty-pies. He thinks Romane Bohringer is a type of French Mayonnaise...It is arty in the way that Pulp Fiction is arty...but with more Gallic savoire faire...

10 out of 10 with every viewing...and has anyone got Romane's phone number...she is the perfect French Salad Dressing...
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4/10
had possibilities but has huge plot hole
jimakros28 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
-SPOILERS------------ I am a fan of 60's-70's french cinema but not necessarily of the more modern,so to be honest i watched this because of Bellucci.She is very young here,extremely beautiful and on top of this supposedly this movie is where they met with Cassel,so it gives it some extra importance.

The movie begins with a very nice style reminiscent of DePalma.Then suddenly we are thrown to flashback,and the back and forth goes on which gets tiring.I don't mind one flash back,but do it and get it over with man!!!Anyway,the movie is still interesting to me until a point when the first and definite hole in the plot,that allows for the rest of the story,never lets me enjoy the rest.I can allow for little holes here and there,but not to base an entire plot on hot air.This is the story of a man who is literally searching for an old flame.This is the main plot.I will go along,when the story at some point will convince me that there are really mysterious things going on,but in this story there's nothing really mysterious.Bellucci-Cassel are a couple ,then Bellucci urgently has to leave for some job in Italy(not the farthest place on earth from Paris)and she leaves him a message,which for reasons later explained he doesn't get.OK,so what?Don't these people have phones?Supposedly she was away for 2months(not a century exactly) and wouldn't she call her boyfriend in Paris to see how he's doing? Of course not.Instead,even after she gets back she forgets all about him.And thats fine,but later in the movie she tells her friend that it was her greatest love and was ready to commit for the first time in her life.Yet she failed to give him a call for 2months and then never tried to get back with him.And what about Cassel's character?He was supposedly unable to locate her in Italy,really hard to find someone in Italy,its probably like Siberia,especially an actress who is probably listed even in the arts papers.And after 2months when she would be back,really hard to find her and ask for an explanation. One thinks she wanted to avoid him,but no,we find out they simply couldn't meet.So hard to meet in Paris. OK,i don't need to go further,because this is the incident where the entire movie is based. What is even worse,Bellucci is not really the star of this movie but this other girl Bohringer is.
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9/10
Visually stunning French mystery
pivn200215 November 2003
A wonderful story about the consequences of obsessive love with the beautiful romantic back streets of Paris as its location. We're transported through time and see the plot develop from the perspectives of the three main characters as the mystery unwinds.
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Silly French twaddle
Gio-1112 January 2000
A very confusing film with nods to Hitchcock, some very good photography and little else. The plot involves the Hitchcock staples of obsession and paranoia but lacks the ultimate touch of the master - suspense. I was told that this film was a 'must see' and how great it was and how wonderful the structure was and how engaging it all was. Well, do not waste the time because this film is a pretentious, overlong piece of French 'style' - lots of visual cleverness and moody pouting (called great acting when it is in a French film) but little substance. At the end you could not care less what happens to these self-obsessed characters and I must have had a bad day because I could not follow a lot of this. The film uses a fragmented narrative by presenting the sequences in flashback and in no particular order. We are shown scenes several times and with new perspectives each time so we can try to make sense of the story, if one can call it that. I had to resort to looking at the characters' hair in order to figure out when things were happening. There was also a great deal of symbolism - red rose, white rose, red walls, white shirts, long hair, short hair, red shoes and on and on and on until I yelled enough! The symbols, of course, go nowhere and are presented in sledgehammer fashion so that we can marvel at how clever it all is even though it makes no sense. This is "Single White Female" meets French pretension made by a director who has studied too many Hitchcock films but failed the exam.
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7/10
Missing Encounters, Obsession and Serendipities with a Disappointing and Incoherent Conclusion
Claudio Carvalho8 March 2011
After two years working in New York in the 90's, the successful executive Max Mayer (Vincent Cassel) returns to Paris and will sooner get married to his fiancée Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain). He has a meeting in a restaurant with Japanese executives and then he will travel to Tokyo. However, he glances at a woman leaving a telephone booth and he believes she is Lisa (Monica Bellucci), the greatest love of his life who had disappeared years ago. He finds the key of a Parisian hotel room in the booth and he calls off his trip to Tokyo trying to meet Lisa in the hotel. He sneaks into the empty room; finds an obituary and goes to the cemetery expecting to find Lisa. Then he follows the stranger Daniel (Olivier Granier), whose name he had overheard in the booth cabin, and finds an apartment that he supposes is Lisa address. Meanwhile Max recalls his romance with Lisa in flashbacks. Max borrows the car of his best friend Lucien (Jean-Philippe Écoffey), who is in love with his girlfriend Alice, to go to the apartment wait for Lisa. However, he finds another woman also called Lisa (Romane Bohringer). The mystery is clarified through the flashbacks.

"L'Appartement" is an intriguing thriller about missing encounters, obsession and serendipities with a disappointing and incoherent conclusion. The non-linear screenplay keeps the mystery until the very end. The performances of Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci and Jean- Philippe Écoffey are excellent, but the sexy Romane Bohringer steals the movie in the role of an outcast woman obsessed by her only girlfriend. Unfortunately there are many flaws and holes in the story.

The first one is indeed a continuity mistake, with Max's scarf vanishing when meets Lucien in the stairway and in the restaurant, but back around his neck when he goes to the airport.

There are questions not answered: Why Lisa had lodged in a hotel in Paris if she has her own apartment? How Alice financially supports herself? Why Max stays with Muriel in the end? Why Lisa trusted on a single letter, instead of looking for Lucien and asking Max's address in New York and send an ultimate letter?

My interpretation of the plot is that the lonely and needy Alice is obsessed by Lisa and creates all the missing encounters to avoid Lisa to meet Max and leave her alone again. But in the end, she finds that Max desires and loves her and she unexpectedly falls in love with Max. Therefore, she does not need Lisa anymore. However, my interpretation seems to be wrong based on the reaction of Max after reading her diary. But again, Alice is a manipulative woman and the viewer never knows neither what is written in her journal (maybe the real feelings of the true Lisa) nor her conversation without audio with Lisa. Further, Max is a romantic man that has never acknowledged the love of Lisa with him and believe his feelings are unrequited love.

There are references to "Rear Window" and "Single White Female", but nevertheless, the terrible conclusion does not make any sense. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Apartamento" ("The Apartment")
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9/10
Rear Window meets Rashomon
aslett26 May 2011
In three words: Sophisticated, sexy, smart. In one sentence: What a script!

This is s very daring film. It actually imagines that the person watching is paying attention and willing to be enthralled by an exceedingly clever story. If you are seeing it at home then don't go and grab something from the fridge without hitting the pause button. If you do you won't understand it at all. You can't miss anything, right from the seemingly unimportant opening scene in a jewelers shop on the phallocentric Place Vendome (think Freud via Hitchcock) with an exposition on three engagement rings, up until the credits. This film will take you one way, double back on itself, then dig an escape tunnel right under your nose. You can't tell much of the plot without giving some of the game away so as to the story let me only say this: The worldly Max (Vincent Cassel) is about to be engaged to Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain). He is also heading off to Japan on a business trip and prior to catching his plane makes a visit to a café and overhears a voice speaking on the telephone who he suspects is a woman he once knew: Lisa (Monica Bellucci),. This triggers an old obsession in him and instead of taking his flight he follows a trail of clues in the hope of finding this former love. We are treated to his relationship with her in flashback. But if you think you know what is going on don't rest on your laurels. A third and even a forth strand of the story will be revealed to you (but not to Max) in poignant fashion. Think of Hitchcock's Rear Window and Vertigo crossed with Kurosawa's Rashomon and treat yourself to having the action happen in Paris with the achingly beautiful Monica Belluci, a passionate Romane Bohringer and that unwitting, lucky bastard Vincent Cassel who gets to smooch with both of them. There is a slight misjudgement in pace two thirds through but keep watching as you can't take for granted where the story will go. And as it seems Vincent Cassel is on the brink of making a second grand career on this side of the Atlantic this is an excellent place to start your homework on the man.
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2/10
L'disappointment
kenjha29 December 2010
A Parisian leaves behind his fiancé to pursue an old flame but becomes involved with a third woman. It sounds like a good premise for a French comedy but this one is serious - except that it's laughably bad. The plot is so convoluted, with repeated flashbacks and events unfolding from multiple points of view, that it becomes tiresome keeping track of who's doing what to whom in which time frame. The script, direction, and editing are so sloppy that it's not surprising that this is writer-director Mimouni's only film. The ending is ludicrous. About the only reason for sitting through this turkey is Bellucci, although she isn't given much screen time.
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A Great Thriller
peter074 September 2002
I saw this movie in Korea back in 1999, and it lingered in my mind for a while after viewing. It was also my introduction to the hauntingly beautiful Monica Bellucci (HER face could launch a thousand ships).

The twists and turns and bizarre ending makes this a must see. I hope they release an uncut DVD version as I own the Korean release that had three minutes cut out.

Highly recommended and a film you can see more than once!
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5/10
The original to a much better remake
Daniel Secrieru22 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Considering this film was launched in 1996, I would have to say it's the French original based on which Wicker Park was made. With a cast of French and American actors, the story seemed peculiarly familiar to me, having seen the American version first. But when the restaurant scene started it all came back to me. If you've already seen Wicker Park, I don't recommend this movie. First because you already know all the plot turns that make the story great and second because - I never thought I would ever say this - Diane Kruger is much better for the part than Monica Bellucci (and this comes from a man who is a big fan of the latter). Furthermore, it is my opinion that Cassel - again, comparing him with Mathew Lillard in Wicker Part - played his part like a stiff. I haven't seen many of his movies, but from those I did see I can safely say he didn't commit to this role. All in all, I give it 5/10 because the story was ruined for me and because the lead actors, though all good ones, did not impress me in this production.
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Lisa et Alice
Chrysanthepop19 August 2010
Mimouni's 'L'Appartement' seems to have garnered plenty of recognition simply for its style and suggestiveness. It is a stylish film indeed. Not in the Hollywoodish sense but rather in its storytelling and use of camera-work. The film has a simple natural French look. There are no ultraglamourous people or lavish-looking sets. It's set in the simple yet stunning Paris. The apartment that plays the title role is quite marvelous. The exterior and interior designs are superb.

The story is very labyrinthine but unfortunately not very layered. Mimouni uses a very narrative approach and fails to delve deeper into the characters themselves. Moreover, I found the ending very disappointing and the characters' actions out of sync. Many seem to have come up with their own explanation for the conclusion in an attempt to make sense of it and maybe that was Mimouni's intention (which makes this a pretentious film) but for me merely rationalizing that a character is a 'flawed' human being isn't enough to explain an action that is completely out of place. I'm not saying that I would have preferred a happy ending (certainly not the usual Hollywood ending) but at least something that made sense of the character.

Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci and Romain Bohringer deliver first rate performances. Cassel and Bellucci's scenes are among the best sequences in the movie. Their electric chemistry sizzles on screen. Meanwhile, Bohringer terrifically gets under the skin of bad Alice.

'L'Appartement' has a very enjoyable first 1 hour and 15 minutes. Mimouni's labyrinthine gets a bit confusing in places but soon picks up. He also references to several classics, especially to Hitchcock's movies but reference alone does not solidify great work. Had it not been for the disappointing ending and lack of consistency, this could have been a great film.
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2/10
There's naive and naive
vostf29 September 2006
Naivety can be touching or naivety can be exasperating. Here it simply ebbs and flows between dully and dumbly exasperating.

I almost watch it till the end but I could stand it no longer at 93 minutes out of 111. Not that it became worse but it didn't improve, it went on mechanically unreeling its protracted plot and I was no longer expecting it to have something looking like an end. Or worse if possible: I was fearing some kind of an über-melodramatically-tragic ending (please don't tell me, I don't give a damn). Grumf! it's not often that I'm so bored that I dare be impolite enough to leave before the end.

Simply put: the director is really really bad, hence performances are always bordering pathetic. The plot structure is... (well I'm not sure somebody understood plot structure on this production) loose thus lousy. We first come to learn the setup through a series of flashbacks which only dilute the exposition over more than 30 minutes (you're speaking of an ordeal!) when nothing moves forward. So we know everything through Max's POV, which is nothing compare to what happens when the director switches (by mistake I guess) to another POV where we know exactly what happens. And the director still thinks he's clever, unveiling new bits and parts of his beloved flashbacks that fill in the blanks. I heard of a director dubbed the master of suspense; please meet the master of procrastination.

At least there's one good thing in this overblown mess: art direction and location scouting in Paris are great.

(note to self: never buy a DVD for 3 bucks again)
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5/10
not that clever, even if it is french...
rdm9114 January 2000
sorry i abhor elitism and anyone who feels a film being in a different language means it is necessarily sassier gets my proverbial goat (everyone needs a pet).

to my ear the dialogue is not that character driven, often it is glib and a trifle shallow. secondly the premise of the movie for me is flawed, if not to say highly deriviative. too many structured coincidences...you can see the scaffolding and for me that renders the intellectual point less shattering, more sophomorish... a glib "what if" story of highly unlikely ifs... far more disturbing would be the same premise using more mundane, more real, everyday what ifs and more complex relationships to boot. too broad and general were the strokes used to build these characters, at no point did the relationships, the connections between the characters engage me, i felt a detached observer of plot machinations...grinding ones at that. sorry this is on the level of "sliding doors"
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1/10
Merde
BJBatimdb30 December 2012
I like a lot of French films but this one is dreadful. A lifeless, ugly, horribly miscast piece of tedia that has all the hallmarks of a first film - a first STUDENT film. Utterly lacking coherence or tension, it dawdles aimlessly between mystery and 'comedy' without ever achieving either. Scenes are choppy, dialogue is stilted and flashbacks are particularly irritating, denoted as they are by giving the lead actor a laughable haircut. However, he is unlikeable in any timeframe or tonsure.

Quite apart from the dire content, the film looks as though it's been shot on tape by a bunch of refugees from a Human League video. Truly awful.
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Intelligent, desire and quality acting
lumenm29 March 2003
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this movie. It had my attention from the beginning and never bores you a moment. The acting was supreme and the story of lies and deceives was something that was hanging around all the time. This is my number one movie... Funny is, in Antwerp, "La Pergola" really exists...
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1/10
Confusing and boring!
leonardhesselink19 January 2018
In this movie there is no comprehensable storyline at all, and I didn't see any way clear to reach the end...
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10/10
Superb script
nicriver13 April 2004
I loved everything in this film, the colors, the acting, the camera work, the script, the flat (I want a flat like that!!)... Vincent Cassel is, as always, superb and Romane was a surprise to me. The script is very well written. Lots of twists, funny situations, a chain of events in a spiral that hooked me in completely. I loved how destiny didn't let them be together, how they were so close and yet never met. Isn't life sometimes this strange? And his confusion. How to choose? I mean, we all experience that, some times in our lives, it's not easy once we get involved to just leave it behind... The camera work is at times brilliant and the colors are just perfect! I can't believe how this is the only film directed by Gilles Mimouni... Nic
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