Under the Sand
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Time Out saysThe subject matter of prolific young French auteur François Ozon's fourth feature - a happily married, childless woman's traumatised denial of her husband's sudden death by drowning - may, superficially, suggest a move on the director's part to calmer, more classical, waters after the sly, shocking tactics of his more transgressive early melodramas. Indeed, in focusing so sharply on Charlotte Rampling's tautly controlled, subtly nuanced performance as the elegant, Paris-based university lecturer who painstakingly, if psychotically, maintains a pretence of continuity, Ozon's film can be appreciated as a quality star vehicle, and as a tribute to the graceful mystique, sexual potency and fractured sensibility that the now 56-year-old actress brings to the screen. The movie's emphasis, however, gradually becomes more philosophical, abstract and quietly macabre. Hence a persuasive, intimate study of grief is transformed into a more general critique of romantic self-delusion in conventional marriage, made all the more unsettling by Rampling's film persona which, ultimately, remains impenetrable.