The Intruder

Movies

Time Out says


ANIMAL INSTINCT Golubeva has horse sense.

Let the gorgeous images of Claire Denis's The Intruder, impeccably lensed by her frequent collaborator Agns Godard, wash over you and you're bound to be stirred. As for what those images signify, well, that's another matter—potentially one for a severe headache. Tahitian sunsets, handsome Husky dogs, gap-toothed Batrice Dalle as some kind of vulpine forest queen: This is not a film for the plot-dependent.

Any attempt at synopsis will, by definition, impose order on what is a mystifying experience. But let's give it a shot: Aged Louis (Subor) leads a quiet, solitary life in the French Alps. He may have at one time been a criminal; these days, he suffers from heart problems. There's a guy in the neighboring village (Colin) who may or may not be his son. A black-market heart is mysteriously acquired, as is a passage to the South Pacific, where Louis might be hoping to reconnect with his family. Or not.

Given Denis's ability to wed high style with emotional directness— especially in her previous feature, 2002's romantic Friday Night—her latest can't help but disappoint. Taken from a novel by literary theorist Jean-Luc Nancy, the picture suffers from an abundance of longueurs, few of which feel anchored to the coherence Denis is capable of. Perhaps she's stretching out, and that's to be commended. But even compared to the great head-scratchers of yore (Don't Look Now, Mulholland Dr.), Denis's oblique meditation on mortality—or is it pet ownership?— is infuriatingly coy.—Joshua Rothkopf

(Opens Fri 23; Cinema Village.)

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