Trouble Every Day
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NTSC/Region 0. Highly acclaimed 2001 film directed by Claire Denis & starring Vincent Gallo & Beatrice Dalle, accompanied by a romantic soundtrack provided by Tindersticks (featuring Stuart A. Staples). Original English & French dialogue. Approx. 100 mins. Panorama. 2004.
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Trouble Every Day requires a lot of patience to sit through. It is slow paced, but very purposefully so. It is minimalistic horror at it's absolute best and most stringent. Somehow, however, it manages to convey nearly every basic emotion while allowing itself to unfold with the utmost simplicity. It's one of the messiest art films that one can come across, but justifiably so. Take, for instance, the early scenes which detail the man on a plane with his wife on their way to Paris and how haunting the scene is. They kiss tenderly and passionately and it is romantic and beautiful. He goes into the bathroom and becomes frenzied, his urges becoming stronger and more prominent and the film becomes psychological in his plight. The film prior to this scene shows a man in a field discovering a devoured corpse, the blood and gore coating the long grass. The scene is handled not as horrific, however, but more eerie and stoic in it's minimal detailing. The scenes in this film unfold in a quiet and suspenseful way that does become incredibly scary. Nothing about the film is outright scary, but the lingering tension and the intensity of the situations as a whole come off all too effective and as a result it becomes one of the hardest films to forget. The film just exists. When you watch it, you will feel dropped into the middle of a film. There is no beginning or end to this story. The film shows a world of desperate craving, inhuman madness, and disgusting behavior.
The only problem I have with this film is it's moments in which is does try to develop the plot rather than the characters. Since there's no plot, the film's attempts to suddenly place one into the film's style come off as a complete failure. Basically the scenes I'm talking about are all the scenes in which the characters have dialogue. Vincent Gallo is a fantastic actor, but his voice is one of the most unusual voices I have ever heard. He sounds high-pitched and shrill, and it comes off incredibly bizarre given his large posterior. I don't fault his voice as being an unneeded aspect of this film, but rather the direction that his character is taken in as a fault. There should be no direction, and that's the problem with those scenes. I say the same for Beatrice Dalle's character. Thankfully her scenes come off completely monstrous and horrible, which is the way it should be. Let the characters be characters, but don't develop them into the plot. Develop them on their own. Thankfully ninety five percent of the film is about character development rather than plot development and the whole film is very haunting as a whole so it is easy to forget what is happening during these scenes and it does not become a problem, only a minor issue. I think the only people who will take more issue with this film are the people who either don't care for the subject matter or don't care for this film's style, in which case they have no reason to watch this film anyway.
Many viewers will walk away not entirely sure what they just watched. There are two scenes (one of them a graphic rape scene) that will cause many viewers to not even finish it. Don't dismiss the film entirely though. It will grow on you soon after you have finished it. It is not the kind of film that asks for the audience's attention. It is the kind of film that simply delivers quality suspense, gore, and romance in equal measure, but develops it all to it's most intense. It is one of the most intense films I've watched, and that is saying something. I think it is films like this that really remind me that the French are making some of the most challenging horror films. Trouble Every Day is a great horror film, but it's intense subject matter and qualities makes it more for the most brave moviegoers.