Monday, December 26, 2016

Blowing off Steam

Nocturama (2016) - Bonello
Breakfast Club meets Dawn of the Dead. Bonello's controversy seeking cinematic stunt is all looks and no substance. First half is unbelievably tense, almost silent film as a group of twenty-something Parisians orchestrate terror attacks and an assassination of political and economical targets (head of HSBC France, a big glass office building, Ministry of Interior and the gold statue of Jean d'Arc). After most of them successfully retreat to their meeting point - a large lux department store, things slow down significantly. As they have to hole up the night. A bit hesitant at first, then they try on brand name clothes and drink wine while dancing to bad rap and electronica while avoiding the news on the big screen TVs. Are they avoiding their inevitable doom or are they that clueless?

Adele Haenel makes a cameo, to deliver the line Nocturama is build upon, in the middle of the film as a girl on a bike in the middle of the night, as David, one of the babyfaced terrorist sneaks out of the department store out of boredom to smoke a cigarette, runs into her and talks to her. "It had to happen. And now it did."

In the wake of the Berlin terror attack and the assassination of Russian Ambassador in Turkey, Haenel's statement surely reflects the mood and tension of not just France but the whole European continent. It's the anger and frustrations being bottled up not only in immigrants but every single Parisians, Bonello tells us, as he fuzzes up these young people's motivations or directions. But then again, Nocturama is just an abashedly entertaining, slick moviemaking. I wish Bonello reflecting the mood and violence on the street in this movie is the extent of bottled up anger and blowing off steam are true and the extent of it. If only. But we all know that the world we are living in now is much darker and much more sinister place, unfortunately.