FilmReview

Film Review: Inexorable – London Film Festival 2021

Reviewer:  Richard Maguire

Writers: Fabrice du Weiz, Aurélien Molas and Joséphine Darcy-Hopkins

Director: Fabrice du Weiz

Director Fabrice du Weiz believes his new film pays homage to steamy 80s thrillers like Fatal Attraction. He claims that he has updated the genre for today’s audiences, but there is little evidence of this in Inexorable, which like Fatal Attraction, features a crazy woman, a feckless man, a child in jeopardy, and, crucially, a pet.

Glenn Close’s rabbit stew in Adrian Lyne’s 1987 erotic thriller meant that any jealous woman was often called a bunny-boiler in the late 20th century, but the pet in Inexorable is Ulysse, a dog that the Bellmers have brought for their daughter Lucie to stop her feeling lonely. They have just moved into a sprawling mansion in the Belgian countryside that once belonged to Madame Bellmer’s father. Her husband, Marcel, is the famous author of the hit novel Inexorable. They are comfortable and smug.

But one day Ulysse disappears. He is returned by a young woman called Gloria, who is soon employed to help Lucie train Ulysse, otherwise the most placid of dogs. Implausibly, within a few days, Gloria is housekeeper and Lucie’s companion. She cooks, she does the school run and she listens at doors. The rest of the story is predictable. When his wife leaves for a conference, Marcel soon desires the pretty, if sullen, woman now in his employment. Let the erotics begin.

There’s not much more to the narrative than that and Weiz makes little of the mansion where most of the film is set. The stairs may be on the verge of collapse, but the house holds no secrets and it doesn’t become, in the Gothic style, a character in the story. The events could happen anywhere, and with only a few glimpses of mobile phones, at any time.

As Gloria, Alba Gaïa Bellugi does well in a thankless role but perhaps looks too miserable for anyone to employ her without references. Benoît Poelvoorde and Mélanie Doutey are fine as the husband and wife, and their sex scene is the most frightening part of the film. However, as their daughter, Janaina Halloy steals every scene she’s in, and in the acting stakes Ulysse comes a close second.

Fatal Attraction came out during the AIDS epidemic and could be seen as a warning of the dangers of extramarital sex: sleep around and pay the consequences. Inexorable seems to have no message and the Misery subplot which may or may not explain Gloria’s behaviour seems tacked on clumsily. Without something new to say, this film hardly seems necessary.

 Inexorable is screening at the London Film Festival.

The Reviews Hub Score:

Fatal Attraction 2

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The Reviews Hub Film Team is under the editorship of Maryam Philpott.

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