'Unforgivable': Actress, Venice waterways help uneven film flow
A movie review of "Unforgivable," an uneven new film from Andre Téchiné ("Wild Reeds") set in Venice, where a whiny mystery writer (André Dussollier) retreats with an enigmatic real-estate agent (Carole Bouquet).
Special to The Seattle Times
'Unforgivable,' with André Dussollier, Carole Bouquet. Directed by André Téchiné, from a screenplay by Téchiné and Mehdi Ben Attia. 113 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains profanity, sex scene). In French and Italian, with English subtitles. Varsity.
Maybe it's because Luis Buñuel cast her as the ultimate woman of mystery in her feature-film debut, "That Obscure Object of Desire" (1977). Maybe it's because she seems as comfortable in a James Bond movie (1981's "For Your Eyes Only") as she does selling Chanel.
Whatever it is that makes her so compelling, Carole Bouquet suggests a female Dorian Gray, especially in her latest film, André Téchiné's "Unforgivable." Watching her, you can't help wondering how, even though records show that she was born in France on Aug. 18, 1957, she appears ageless.
Bouquet and the waterways of Venice are the chief charms of Téchiné's movie, which is otherwise one of his less convincing efforts. It lacks the heart of his prizewinning "Wild Reeds" (1994) and the underrated "Strayed" (2003), and the wit of his Catherine Deneuve vehicles.
While the sprawling script bears some resemblance to those pictures — Téchiné is almost always focused on messy relationships and the sometimes primitive ways in which they reveal personalities — something doesn't quite ring true here.
Bouquet does bring her enigmatic glamour to the role of Judith, a real-estate agent who works for Francis (André Dussollier), a whiny mystery novelist who rents an island getaway from her. They instantly become a couple, despite a number of hard-to-swallow complications, including the arrival of his difficult daughter and his hiring of a gay-bashing private eye to keep tabs on Judith.
At least Téchiné tends to give Bouquet the best lines. Storming out of a hopelessly circular argument with Francis, Judith informs him that "I'm not angry. I'm just tired." Guaranteed to keep him up all night — and maybe that's the point.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org