Don't Touch the Axe (PG)

Film

Romance

migrate.37211.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Posted: Mon Dec 17 2007

A masterpiece, the latest of Rivette’s many Balzac adaptations is a deceptively simple dramatisation of ‘La Duchesse de Langeais’. Mostly a faintly but fittingly theatrical two-hander set in the salons and boudoirs of 1820s Paris, it chronicles the cat-and-mouse relationship between the fêted General Armand de Montriveau (Guillaume Depardieu), and the coquettish Duchess Antoinette de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar). De Montriveau may have been triumphant in the Napoleonic Wars, but this is love, and differently dangerous: one may be sure he never came up against any strategist as mysterious as the woman to whose affections he decides he ought to lay siege…What starts partly as a flirtatious testing of their own seductive appeal steadily turns into a perverse struggle in which each – for reasons evidently unclear even to themselves – becomes convinced that they might love the other. Less eccentric in many respects than most of the director’s work, it’s extraordinarily subtle, akin to the films of Rohmer in its delicate but firm grasp of the complexity of human desire, yet remaining typical of Rivette in the way it skillfully negotiates the shifting sands of all manner of uncertainties. The leads are superb: Depardieu glowering and clumsy to suggest how ill rehearsed the General is in the rules of salon society, Balibar sliding from sly manipulations towards the realisation that she’s losing control of the strange game she started. (Rivette stalwarts Bulle Ogier, Michel Piccoli and Barbet Schroeder lend lovely support.) The whole thing is compelling from start to finish; ‘cruel ironies’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.
0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Dec 28, 2007

Duration:

137 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
1 person listening
margaritafm

Great piece of film and theatre! Of an intensity rarely seen in cinemas today. Subtle power games, playing with fire, concentrated passion. Depardieu and Balibar give great theatrical performances. A film that feels like theatre. Wonderful!

margaritafm

Great piece of film and theatre! Of an intensity rarely seen in cinemas today. Subtle power games, playing with fire, concentrated passion. Depardieu and Balibar give great theatrical performances. A film that feels like theatre. Wonderful!

walterf

Absolutely a dreadful experience for both my wife and myself. I felt like axing the duchess before the end of the first hour, and certainly putting weights around her feet to throw her overboard by the end of this God awful movie.

walterf

Absolutely a dreadful experience for both my wife and myself. I felt like axing the duchess before the end of the first hour, and certainly putting weights around her feet to throw her overboard by the end of this God awful movie.

amondo

What a wonderful film. Jeanne Balibar is stunning in her role as the Duchess. Sumptuous 19th century interiors. Love as torture. Tension between appearances and authenticity; religion as the bridge. Tests of sincerity, crossed lines, lost exchanges. Tragedy. Its a shame the previous reviewer has no appreciation of culture. Stick to your McDonalds, mate.

amondo

What a wonderful film. Jeanne Balibar is stunning in her role as the Duchess. Sumptuous 19th century interiors. Love as torture. Tension between appearances and authenticity; religion as the bridge. Tests of sincerity, crossed lines, lost exchanges. Tragedy. Its a shame the previous reviewer has no appreciation of culture. Stick to your McDonalds, mate.

andy pearmain

Masterpiece? Uh? This film is so so so French, and not (as they say in their polar opposite in the cultural cold war, the US) in a good way. Slow, stagey, uneventful, unengaging, it might make sense to a certain self-regarding section of French society, but not here. The acting is as wooden as the 'hero's' artificial leg. I sat watching for an hour, waiting for it to kick in, but by the time Depardieu had stormed in or out for the nth time (or rather stomped on his stump...), and the trout-faced 'heroine' had started swooning and hearing God, I'd had had enough. Sorry, I skipped the last half hour to go wandering round the sales...much more entertaining and culturally enriching. One star for the several beautiful bouquets of flowers...

andy pearmain

Masterpiece? Uh? This film is so so so French, and not (as they say in their polar opposite in the cultural cold war, the US) in a good way. Slow, stagey, uneventful, unengaging, it might make sense to a certain self-regarding section of French society, but not here. The acting is as wooden as the 'hero's' artificial leg. I sat watching for an hour, waiting for it to kick in, but by the time Depardieu had stormed in or out for the nth time (or rather stomped on his stump...), and the trout-faced 'heroine' had started swooning and hearing God, I'd had had enough. Sorry, I skipped the last half hour to go wandering round the sales...much more entertaining and culturally enriching. One star for the several beautiful bouquets of flowers...