Time to Leave

Film
REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE Poupaud admires his stunning mug.
REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE Poupaud admires his stunning mug.

Time Out says

Ironic satires, Freudian fairy tales, switcheroo thrillers, Sirk-us Maximus camp...Franois Ozon has proved himself adept at a number of distancing styles. Sentimentality, however, is a new flavor for the French filmmaker, and judging from how Ozon’s latest stalls under such a bald-faced display, the way of the syrup doesn’t suit him. Pathos isn’t foreign territory to him—witness Under the Sand (2000), a muted yet moving meditation on grief—but this story of a dying photographer (Poupaud) finds the director uncharacteristically going for a full-frontal tear-duct attack. There’s even a strings-laden soundtrack for the tragic third act. Et tu, Franois?

Time to Leave initially indicates that it wants nothing to do with saintly martyrdom. After being diagnosed, our doomed hero goes right back to heaping abuse on his family and haunting a leather bar straight outta Cruising after coldheartedly ditching his boyfriend. So far, so Fassbinder; then redemption rears its head, which means cheap tactics like surreptitious phone calls to estranged family members. Poupaud’s undeniably brilliant performance neutralizes the pap, but Ozon’s inability to temper the pandering stops the film from being poetic. The director’s heart may have thawed, but perhaps it’s best kept off his sleeve. (Opens Fri) — David Fear

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