The Woman in the Fifth

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The Woman in the Fifth
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
ATO Pictures
Opens June 15, Lincoln Plaza
The first film from émigré director Pawel Pawlikowski since 2004’s dreamy My Summer of Love, this thoroughly odd and brooding psycho-puzzle trains in on Ethan Hawke’s displaced American writer-academic, arrived in Paris to see his ex-wife and young daughter despite a restraining order, a recent hospital stay, and a history of violence. Behind his thick-lensed Buddy Hollys and air of vague disconnection, the man seems oblivious to his situation, which just grows more dire once he’s robbed of his luggage and must take an off-the-books job video-monitoring a dope den’s entrance just to pay for a hovel above a café. Pawlikowski is peerless at contemporary fish-out-of-water discomfiture (à la 2000’s Last Resort), and visually his style is a hypnotic cataract of offbeat compositions, luminous light studies, and abrupt-cut naturalism. But the film’s story seems to jump its ghostly rails with the mysterious introduction of Kristin Scott-Thomas as an elliptical lover-muse who provides Hawke’s lost boy with sanctuary and support. That is, until we begin getting the sense that a healthy but undetermined slice of the film, maybe including an off-screen murder, is actually unspooling in the hero’s frazzled head. You’re not sure what this is till it’s over, but certainly Hawke’s performance is his nerviest and most sincere in a decade.
 
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1 comments
setha2z
setha2z

I just watched the film, and actually enjoyed it.  However, I didn't have a clue about even the main theme until reading some of the insightful reviews.  They mentioned details that I frankly didn't even see or appreciate, such as the mysterious location where Hawke is gatekeeper being a drug source.  What that means eludes me though.  I thought that was left to my imagination.  Perhaps I missed the main subject due to my own mental issues, but I think it is more likely due to an inability to understand obscure or subtle plots.  Anyway, i get it now.  It's a cool film.

 

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