<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5Rate this
Time Out saysWhere Haneke's earlier 71 Fragments... traced a web of seemingly unconnected events leading up to a catastrophe, this takes the reverse tack of following the destinies of diverse characters witness to one seemingly inconsequential action - a disaffected youth tossing a paper wrapper into the lap of a Romanian woman begging on the Boulevard St Germain. It's a rewarding strategy, delving into the lives of an actress, her war-photographer lover, his brother and father, an African music teacher and his family, and the beggar and her compatriots, to produce a multi-perspective portrait of Western Europe as a society predicated on lies, inequality and communication breakdown. Nothing hugely original in that conclusion, perhaps, but the method is both lucid and dramatically compelling. Scenes here like Binoche being terrorised on the Métro while other passengers pretend not to notice are spinechillingly authentic. Moreover, despite the film's Bressonian rigours, its emotional force should finally give the lie to Haneke's reputation as a coldly academic film-maker.