A Very Long Engagement

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.