A girl goes from brat to killer in this WTF French import.
“Titane,” the French film that made writer/director Julia Duccourna (“Raw”) the second female director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is a bizarre and absorbing experience. It’s a WTF movie with scenes you don’t want to watch, and yet, somehow, you’re absorbed by the film’s true colors.
It tells the story of a bratty seat kicker named Alexia, who gets herself in a car accident and a titanium plate in her head. Years later, she grows up to be a famous dancer and a serial killer, who mostly murders people with her hairpin. Agathe Rousselle is wickedly divine in this role, which reminded me a bit of how excellent Ezra Miller was in “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
Somehow, I don’t know how, but she gets herself pregnant with a bouncing car. This is an example of how visionary the movie wants to be and is. I mean how often do we get to see that memorable scene?
This dancer is so murderous that she’s able to kill anyone in her path with or without her hairpin. And the news makes her a wanted fugitive. So, she cuts off her hair, hides her breasts and pregnant belly (it looks and feels harsh than how I’m mentioning), and bashes her nose on a bathroom sink, because she decides to disguise herself as a missing boy named Adrien. She manages to fool the boy’s father Vincent (Vincent Lindon), who is a fire captain on steroids.
To disguise her feminine voice, she mostly stays mute toward Vincent, in an estranged son sort of way. But eventually, they connect. No turning points, no police barging in to arrest the murderer, and no easy formulas.
“Titane” will leave you uncomfortable at times, and it may have you saying: “is this supposed to be a movie?” At least I think so for the second thing, because of how moviegoers are selective towards certain independent features. I was mostly WTF, but I was also patient and amazed at how Julia Duccourna was able to pull it all off.
When you begin to watch the movie, you despise Alexia for her behavior and actions, and hope she gets caught by the police. But as you continue watching it, you see there’s a unique character study in her, and how desperate she is to pull off the fake son scenario.
I’ve already mentioned how devilish Rousselle is as Alexia, but credit must also go to Lindon for playing a father struggling to come to terms with his current reality, and how willing he is to reconnect with whom he thinks is his son. It’s a challenging concept from what Duccourna writes, and we should take our time to absorb it. I, myself, needed time to examine the movie’s story, just so I wasn’t mistaken in my guesses, and I realize it’s provocative.
If you see the movie and dislike some of the unwatchable scenes I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t writing in my diary, which I don’t have. But if you admire the creativity and raw narrative in “Titane,” then you’re in for a Hell of a wild ride.