by David Ng
Like its handsome but vapid hero Pierre, a twenty-six year old French writer, Pola X is a beautiful bomb, visually arresting but emotionally incoherent. There are some scenes so gorgeous that we are briefly tempted to stay in our seats: the image of Pierre (Guillaume Depardieu) on horseback galloping through a forest; or his fiancťe Lucie standing on a pedestal in her very long wedding dress; or his mother (Catherine Deneuve) riding deliriously on a motorcycle, her mascara-streaked eyes filled with grief. Then there is the infamous sex scene which occurs late in the story, and which has dogged this movie ever since its Cannes premiere last year. Yes, we see actual penetration, but it isnít pornographic. Director Leos Carax films it in such a way that the two bodies seem to be hungrily consuming each other. The effect is fascinating but muddled; itís not clear what purpose this visual trickery serves. And the same can be said for the entire movie. Pola X works best in airhead mode, when it isnít trying to impress us, when we can forget about the inane plot and the inane characters and simply watch beautiful people cavort in beautiful settings.
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