Rating: 2 / 5
The successful writer Delphine (Emmanuelle Seigner) promotes her current novel, but is privately very exhausted. At the same time, pressure builds up as she also thinks about writing her next novel. At an event, she suddenly meets the myserious Elle (Eva Green), with which she immediately becomes friends. But the closer Elle gets to Delphine, the more tasks she takes on in Delphine’s life. Thankfully, the stressed dolphin accepts the help until she realizes how much more similar Elle becomes to her over time.
For this late work by old master Roman Polanski, the directorial legend relies entirely on the strengths of his wife Emmanuelle Seigner, who plays the really exhausted dolphin magnificently here. You can feel the fatigue in every shot, and at the same time you can feel this confusing lethargy. She doesn’t want all this hustle and bustle and basically burdens herself too much. A subtle hint in the direction of capitalism, which is also intended to underpin the fast pace once again.
Trailer of After a True Story
At the same time, Eva Green as Elle is once again fabulous. So she plays this multi-layered character with a dominance, without actually exerting much violence. This makes it opaque and intangible for the viewer. Elle introduces herself to the author as a big fan of her works and so it happens that she gradually pushes herself into the life of them. Here, too, references to cult phenomena, or heroization of a few people in our world, could be concluded. As is the case with many artists.
Polanski stages all this with a sovereign ease. Because even the scenery and pictures here all seem to have been made of one piece. Cold and rich colors underpin the tension that should set in with the viewer in this psychological game. This even goes so far that individual scenes work with foreshadowing and explicit hints. This has the strongest effect and branches how much power is still in the grandmaster.
Unfortunately, the story here is an absolute failure. Because, as usual with psychological thrillers or horror films, you have to come to terms with the fact that certain things simply remain completely meaningless. In short, the film works according to the following pattern: Stressed author is at work and promoting, can hardly sleep and is latently lethargic/depressive. Some fan comes along and asks her for a signature and suddenly the two friends for some inexplicable reason. Then the woman gradually becomes part of the person’s life and somehow takes over the oh-so-important control.
The whole thing sounds so crazy and pseudo-scary that it’s just ridiculous to watch this movie. At some moments you should have wondered if you weren’t making a comedy out of the material. Because the film definitely takes itself too seriously for this intellectual hazardous waste.
So the psychological aspects are laughable, the story completely banana the final resolution should just cause confusion. Is it a film about burn-out, or about supernatural Hokus Pokus. Neimand can answer that exactly, but – despite the good acting and the staging – the three main people behind this international co-production have done themselves no favors to stage this film. It’s about nothing, it means nothing and unfortunately it’s nothing.