Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not Just Anybody

Le premier venu/Just Anybody (2008) - Doillon
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Just Anybody follows Camille (Clémentine Beaugrand), Costa (Gérald Thomassin) to a windswept small coastal town. They had some unpleasant sexual encounter and she wants him to apologize, sincerely. It's clear that they are from a very different background: she, an alluring Parisian and he, a trouble-prone street urchin. Costa has a daughter whom he hasn't seen over 3 years and an estranged wife in town. She wants him to see his daughter. She sees a decency in him that no one, not even he himself sees and sticks with him. Things get complicated when a cop and Costa's childhood friend, Cyril (Guillaume Saurrel) becomes intrigued and smitten by Camille, too.

All the characters actions don't seem premeditated, since they don't have definite plans and their motivations obscured. And for that, the film unfolds in unexpected, pleasantly surprising ways. Acting and script are superb. Things seem unruly and unfocused and you feel it's on the edge of devolving into a typical noirish amour-fou with assault and kidnapping (which happen in this). But Doillon takes you to a completely different place that is thoroughly absorbing and human. He allows each scene to play out, bumps and all, and refrain from cutting any corners on showing, developing these characters. Beaugrand is beguiling as a young woman who is 'tired of being loved and misunderstood' and wants to love. Thomassin, looking like a Dumont character with his scarred face and rough ways, shines as a volatile but decent man who is trying to work out his various issues. Just Anybody could be a slog with 2hrs + running time, but it is totally rewarding to stick with it until the end.