October 03, 2005

The Bridesmaid / Takeshis’

Reviewed by Martin Tsai at the 24th Vancouver International Film Festival

Claude Chabrol’s second Ruth Rendell adaptation, The Bridesmaid is a well-oiled, expertly executed Hitchcockian thriller of the type that fans have come to expect from the 75-year-old auteur. Buttoned-down salesman (Benoît Magimel) is married to his job and family until a mysterious and eccentric woman (Laura Smet) throws his routine out the window along with his better judgment. And their obsessive l’amour fou might just turn out to be lethal. Although Rendell’s plot is somewhat predictable, Chabrol’s aptitude for ambiguity keeps viewers guessing. But this is a disappointingly minor work from a director of considerable repute who seems to be just going through the motions here.

With Takeshis’, Takeshi Kitano imagines what his life would have been like if he hadn’t become a multi-hyphenate celebrity. The Renaissance man here plays himself, as well as a dim-witted look-alike who works at a convenience store and aspires to become a successful actor like Kitano. Essentially an elaborate daydream, this attempt at Charlie Kaufman-esque automatic writing is sporadically hilarious and pointlessly mind-boggling. At feature length, Kitano’s self-deprecating digs at his screen personae come dangerously close to an exercise in narcissism. His strength in the juxtaposition of cruelty and tenderness is sorely missed here. Even if the exercise might amuse some hardcore fans, Kitano himself could not figure out the point or even a conclusion.

© Copyright 2005 Martin Tsai. All rights reserved.