A Very Long Engagement [Un long di­manche de fi­ançailles] is a very long en­gage­ment in­deed. Way too long. About 45 min­utes too long. Watching the movie is like eat­ing a plain baguet­te, It is sort of tasty when you start but you get tired of it long be­fore the end.

This movie doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be, which is prob­a­bly why it runs so long. Is it a mys­tery film?, a ro­mance?, a war film?, a for­eign film?; is the plot struc­ture a nar­ra­tive?, a mem­oir?, or some­thing along the lines of Rashomon? I don’t think Jeunet could de­cide, so he tried to do them all. I al­so think he might have a thing for film­ing his wife in the arms of an­oth­er man.

Anyway, a lot of The Hunt could’ve been cut, as well as much of the back­sto­ry for every lit­tle char­ac­ter. There is pret­ty much no sus­pense be­cause everyone’s ac­counts are so frag­ment­ed that the on­ly thing that dri­ves the movie is Audrey Tatou’s rather rigid per­for­mance. Sure yeah, she is hold­ing all of her emo­tions with a tight rein, what­ev­er. The damn post­man pro­vides a more en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mance.

Perhaps that is where my bi­as en­ters. I ex­pect­ed to be en­ter­tained [well, it is a movie], but may­be I ex­pect­ed to be en­ter­tained like Amelie en­ter­tained me. While there are glim­mers of Jeunet’s won­der­ful di­rec­tor­ship, on the whole the movie thumps about like a drunk in a field at night who is try­ing to find a tree to lean again­st that has 3 Ms carved in­to it so he can take a piss stand­ing up and make sure that Jodie Foster [who is still at­trac­tive, but not quite as at­trac­tive as she was when we were both younger] doesn’t get knocked up by her husband’s friend even though all three par­ties were in­ter­est­ed in reach­ing that con­clu­sion. Did you lose me? I hope so. That is what it felt like to watch the movie. It was pret­ty, but un­for­tu­nate­ly pret­ty long. I think it would be a good movie if it were 90 min­utes in­stead of 134.

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