Trouble Every Day FILM review

Film / Video Reviews
Trouble Every Day FILM review
Mar 1, 2002, 21:04

TROUBLE EVERY DAY directed by Clair Denis; Lot 47 Films, 2002

It's rare. But sometimes art-house horror flicks manage the supernatural: They leave a queasy feeling in the gut while arousing the brain. Trouble Every Day is one of those films. Watching it will make you sick. But you're just as likely to want to see it again—out of a feeling that there was something deeper, greater going on that you missed out on the first time around.

Don't bother. Even after two viewings, all the portent still drowns in a pool of oozing blood, strewn organs and detached limbs. Clair Denis' follow-up to Beau Travail—a retelling of Melville's Billy Budd that elevated her to the top of France's resurgent film movement—explores sex as a predatory act, literally. It obsesses over Core (Beatrice Dalle), a beautiful woman who suffers from a condition whereby she hungers for sex with strangers. The scent of a foreign body arouses her senses. Foreplay summons her most primal and darkest of urges. And orgasm is the trigger that transforms her into a murderous cannibal.


Nope. Denis could have played the condition as a metaphor for sex as violent act or vice versa. Or as a psychological journey to the center of the brain, where lust resides and cravings for flesh and blood mingle. Or as just another zombiefied B-movie hoot, a la Night of the Living Dead. Instead, she settles for an exercise in tedium in which Core goes at dudes like a cat on tuna steak (after having fasted for a week). Usually after a meal, though, a cat naps a bit. Not Core; she's perpetually suffering from the munchies.

Things get so bad that her husband, Leo (Alex Descas), has to lock her in the house whenever he leaves. No matter. Core busts loose whenever her obsession starts growling. And every time, Leo is there to clean up the mess, in a non-plussed, “Oh well, there she goes again” manner—one of the film's most unintentionally humorous elements.

Soon enough, we discover why Leo is so cavalier about the whole thing. He's a medical doctor studying her case. He even has written a paper about it.

That brings Shane (Vincent Gallo) sniffing around. The American is not only familiar with Leo's work and Core's case, he also happens to suffer from the same condition. So, while honeymooning in Paris with his new bride, June (Tricia Vessey), he tries to track down the good doctor and his wild woman.

If you're expecting Bride of Frankenstein, you'll be disappointed. Trouble Every Day is full of too much hand-wringing, angst and quibbling between doctors to be a flesh-eater romance. Gallo hardly seems to be playing a man obsessed, let alone one haunted by demons. Unlike Dalle, who relishes the chow downs, he's too passive and detached to connote much of anything. Much of the problem has to do with Denis' style—one that relies on methodically capturing motion, not dialogue. It works in Beau Travail. Not so in Trouble Every Day. There's just too little motion or emotion. The only time Denis' minimalist approach is befitting of the unsettling world she's trying to cage is when Shane is in his hotel room with a hotel maid nearby. The silence leads to a dramatic tension and the feeling that something ominous lurks around the corner. But those moments are rare in Trouble Every Day. You see, this isn't a film that lurks or creeps about, where silence signals danger. It's a game of binge and purge—full of gruesome acts and boring interludes.

Both are just as hard to digest.

-John Petkovic

Filed Under: Film-DVD-VideoFilm-DVD-Video Reviews

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