LFF 2021: Inexorable – Review

Release date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 38 minutes, Director – Fabrice du Welz

A writer (Benoît Poelvoorde), alongside his wife (Mélanie Doutey) and daughter (Janaina Halloy), retreats to a lavish mansion to write the follow-up to his highly successful novel, however he finds himself distracted by mysterious housemaid (Alba Gaïa Bellugi).

Its clear that co-writer (alongside Joséphine Darcy Hopkins and Aurélien Molas) and director Fabrice du Welz’s Inexorable is trying to be something of a throwback to the long-dormant erotic thriller of years ago. One of darkness, flashbacks, scheming and temptation. It comes across in the various stylistic choices that run throughout the 98 minute run-time. There’s a grainy quality to the piece that’s prominent in the various long shots and close ups that establish both the settings and the largely rushing thoughts of central figure Marcel. He’s retreated, alongside his wife, Jeanne (Mélanie Doutey), and young daughter, Lucie (Janaina Halloy), to a quiet mansion where he can write the follow-up to his hit novel Inexorable. However, amongst struggles to create something just as good he finds himself distracted by the presence of newly-recruited housemaid, and stranger to the family, Gloria (Alba Gaïa Bellugi).

It’s the introduction of Gloria that brings about much of the evidence of the tone and style of erotic thriller that this particular film is trying to capture. It’s safe to say that this film doesn’t shy away from its inclusion and depiction of sex. However, when it does make an appearance the act feels so forced and in your face that it almost appears to lose much point aside from simply being included just because sex. Such moments lie amongst a rather by-the-books narrative looking into the various relationships of Marcel, particularly those with his wife and the growing fascination and mystery around Gloria. A potentially threatening, certainly tempting, figure who demonstrates a light and innocent persona to the rest of the family, particularly Lucie who she begins to form something of a bond and friendship with.

While it’s generally clear to see where the film is going from the early stages, particularly thanks to the conventional nature which it holds throughout, there’s still enough happening to keep you relatively interested in the unfolding events. Even in the third act there’s still a slight sense of tension and mystery about the characters and how things are going to pan out, even if the final few minutes do feel as if they’re lacking some elements. The traditional thriller feel of the third act is heightened by the grainy quality of the picture and the lighting. Both helping to bring you into the world and appreciate what the film is aiming to do. You may not be entirely involved, but there’s still enough to keep your engagement and interest; as has largely been the case with much of what has come beforehand, for the time it takes for things to unfold.

While the actual elements of sex might feel somewhat forced and in-your-face, the stylistic elements that help form the tension and tone of a thriller within Inexorable are rather well done. They help to keep you engaged with the piece and manage to have some effect amongst the generally by-the-books nature of the narrative. A set of good performances from the small central cast help to further get across the tone and style and keep things afloat. While this may be acting as a throwback to erotic thrillers of years gone by it occasionally feels as if it’s stuck amongst them in terms of plotting and structure. Yet, there’s still enough present within Inexorable for the elements to gel together well enough to create a decent and interesting enough piece of work for the time it plays out for.

The sex might feel a bit much at times, yet the other stylistic elements within Inexorable create a level of interest within the viewer that puts aside the conventions on display from early-on and manage to still create some tension and darkness, especially within the third act.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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