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TwentyNine Palms (18)

TwentyNine Palms

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

IT’S difficult to think of a more boring experience than watching Twenty Nine Palms, a tedious French road movie that leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Essentially, Bruno Dumont’s film follows a man and a woman as they drive through the desert scouting locations for some unknown project.

In between each bit of driving, they stop for sex (repeatedly), argue, eat and swim.

David Wissak and Katia Golubeva play the couple in question, named merely David and Katia, who seem to possess little in common.

David is an American who speaks a little French, while Katia is prone to wild mood swings, veering from quiet and placid, to angry and hysterical over the slightest thing.

They seem ill-suited from the outset and do little to provide viewers with any reason why they are together in the first place.

Even their explicit sex scenes lack any spark, appearing as cold, animalistic acts that are devoid of passion or eroticism.

For nearly two hours, viewers are expected to form some sort of empathy and understanding with these two misfits but Dumont’s film is as dead and remote as the desert that it is based in.

As if that weren’t enough, proceedings then take a completely unexplained twist that is both nasty and seemingly unnecessary.

David and Katia are ambushed by rednecks and viciously assaulted, paving the way for a truly unfathomable conclusion.

It is the resolution that leaves such an unpleasant after-taste, forcing viewers to exit the cinema in a stunned state of horrified disbelief.

It’s suggested that Dumont’s film (which he describes as being a horror) is intended as a damning critique on modern America, as well as a look at humanity at its most primal and extreme, yet there is nothing to suggest that this is really the case until the end.

As a result, any artistic intent is lost along the way, thereby leaving us with a movie that is not only tedious in the extreme, but pointless and objectionable.

(French and American, with subtitles; 112 mins; Cert: 18)