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.