How entertaining? ★★★★☆
Thought provoking? ★★☆☆☆
2 February 2012
This a movie review of THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH.
“Can we just talk like normal people?” Tom Ricks
“You’re not normal.” Tom’s ex-wife
Tom (Ethan Hawke) is an American Professor and novelist, who has come to Paris to re-connect with his six year old daughter, Chloe. His ex calls the police on him. Their break-up is not explained. Hardly anything is explained. We are watching an enigma floating around Paris. There is a hint that he was in an institution. Tom is robbed and ends up at a seedy hotel run by a shady figure called Sezer. The former is allowed to stay for free, and 50 Euros a day, in exchange for locking in himself in an office from 10pm to 4am granting entrance to a pretty weird bunker. During the day he meets a bookseller and is recognised as an author of one of the items in the store, and invited to a literary soiree where he meets the sexy and enchanting Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas). This may seem nuts, but it is unusually gripping. I was very much caught up in proceedings, intrigued about where I would be taken. Atmosphere-wise, it feels like a mixture of Polanski’s FRANTIC, Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT, Kafka and Lynch. Not bad company to be in. And it is expertly shot. There are so many questions, with very little being answered. Is this an unreliable narrator? A hallucination? Things start to take an atypical turn after Tom falls asleep on a bus. Are we in INCEPTION territory, or DONNIE DARKO time loops? The film is seemingly clear until the last 15 minutes or so, when everything unravels. This might have proved frustrating, but here, I don’t mind not having all the answers.