Thursday, October 22, 2009

Looking Good Enough To Eat

Trouble Everyday(2001)
Directed By Claire Denis
"Trouble EveryDay" is horror film built around a series of omissions. It begins with a couple kissing.Next we see a women approach a truck at the side of the road, next we see a man in a field discovering a mutilated corpse and then a women nearby covered in blood. The man walks up to the women and embraces her, and we realize they are the couple from the first scene, they are played by Alex Descas and Beatrice Dalle. Next we see Vincent Gallo and Tricia Vessey on a plane looking out of the window down at the city which from so high up in one of the films more lyrical scenes really does "look like a computer chip". Something is wrong with Gallo though and I don't just mean his awkward performance which after all are keeping with his character, if still distracting. Over the course of an hour and half we are slowly told through odd flashbacks, conversations without undisclosed individuals about unexplained research into mysterious subjects.Gallo is on his honeymoon with Vessey, but they don't seem to be doing very much besides caressing each other in bed, between episodes of Gallo searching the city trying to track down Descas and Dalle who he worked with years before. Descas is a doctor and young genius who wrote a paper that gave him fame and simultaneously put him at odds with the mainstream scientific community. The clinic Descas was working at worked in brain chemistry, mental defect, and problems with libido and we see similar chemistry sets set up in his basement. Above the basement Dalle is kept locked in her room during the day, but keeps escaping, sometimes by breaking through the door itself. The strings to this mystery tie together in what I can only describe as artfully and obscurely set up of sex vampires. A bizarre condition that makes it's victims almost irresistible to the opposite sex, incredibly aroused, and toward the point of climax inhumanly strong and cannibalistic. They literally and rapturously eat their partners alive. It's a slow simmering horror film, that sadly drags out a bit too long it's obvious conclusion, and omits too many details to be anything but puzzling. How does the fire start, who is the women Gallo speaks to in the lab, and why are the neighbor boys obsessed with breaking into Descas' house, why does Vessey never ask her husband directly about their lack of sex during their Honeymoon though it obviously bothers her, are all questions that go unanswered. They not exactly central plot points though and it could argued we know exactly what we need to, no more, no less. There are many beautiful sequences and Denis editing provides much of the mystery. In one self-referential moment of (I can't resist the pun) Gallow's humor, he mimics Frankenstein and then Dracula while standing with his wife amidst gargoyle's, a clear nod to the type of horror film and monster tropes, this film skirts. The relationships between the two couples also refract each other at times, in both one person is diseased, while in Gallo's he distances himself from his wife to preserve her innocence (getting her a puppy), Descas cleans up after his wife's murderous rampages and hides her away. There is also a hotel maid who resembles Dalle, and is attracted to Gallo who is mutually fascinated with her. The film leers after her in several prolonged scenes closing up on her neck and nudity turning the POV to Gallo's desires. The soundtrack by The Tindersticks provides a jazzy ambiance and sensuality that imbue the film with an extra level of gloss and grace. The music also inspired scenes in the film as Claire Denis discusses in an interview "You know, in Trouble Every Day there is this scene where Vincent Gallo is looking at his wife taking a bath, and you can see pubic hair moving in the water. That's one of Stuart's (of The Tindersticks) songs. On his second CD there is a song called "Sea Weeds" and the story is just that. I truly wrote the scene because of that song." The actual death/sex scenes are genuinely horrific and go along way especially in our modern days of the vegetarian/decaffeinated vampires of "True Blood", "Twilight", and "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". Denis' creatures whether deranged or inhuman still at least have their teeth intact, and all the gore and pain that comes with it. I wasn't ever bored, but in a few scenes a little annoyed and confused. An above average horror film, full of the mystique and atmosphere of "Let The Right One In", but colder and emotionally dead. Similar themes of repression, rage outgrown from sexual frustration, and "the beast within", but handled better (at least less sentimentally and symbolically) than a similarly themed New French Extremity peer Philippe Grandiuex's "Sombre". All and all the most enduring thing about the film is that it's earned Claire Denis my respect, and interest. A good Halloween film, if enjoy puzzles, atmosphere, and mad scientist or vampire horror flicks.

No comments: