Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of featurette. Additional
scenes. Photo gallery.
IN RECENT years, French film-maker François Ozon has proved
himself to be a diverse and frequently interesting director.
His colourful 8 Women was a visually
extravagant murder-mystery-cum-musical which featured some of
the leading actresses in French cinema, while the more recent
Swimming Pool, was an intimate,
sexy psychological thriller that contained plenty of well-hidden
His latest, 5x2, is more intimate still, focusing on the deteriorating
marriage of an attractive couple and the key moments which may
have led to the break-up.
Yet as intriguing as this dissection of modern relationships
becomes, the film is a curiously cold affair that is likely to
leave viewers feeling strangely distanced from it.
For Ozon, the challenge was to 'take another look at love from
the vantage point of my current experience, without getting bogged
down in explanations'.
Hence, the challenge for audiences comes in forming their own
opinions of it, without ever being force-fed by the director.
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Stéphane
Freiss star as the married couple in question, Marion and Gilles,
whose tale unfolds in reverse.
The film opens in a courtroom, as a lawyer reads out the terms
of their divorce, and ends with a scene depicting how the couple
first became attracted to each other.
The scenes inbetween take in an unhappy dinner party, the birth
of the couple's only son, and their wedding.
Yet it quickly becomes clear that neither lover is a saint and
that the relationship was built on deceit and cowardice from the
Gilles first became attracted to Marion while on holiday with
another girlfriend, while Marion was unfaithful on her wedding
It's this, as much as anything, that makes them difficult to
sympathise with and which makes the film so hard to like.
Ozon does, however, draw great performances from both leads and
proves, yet again, that he is capable of delivering well-written
roles for women (as Tedeschi, especially, shines).
He also delivers a far more sexy and candid examination of modern
relationships than Michael Winterbottom's over-hyped 9
It's just that audiences might find the experience a little too
discomforting to justify spending that much time with it.