Wednesday, January 02, 2013

That Weird Bank To The Left

Being the first of the year, I thought I would get things kicked off right, which I have yet to do. I have noticed a few blogs putting out the best and worst of the year posts, but I have never been one that likes to do that. Last year makes the second year that my post output has gone down, so I hope to turn it around this year. The movie I decided on for today is one I have had here for a long time now. Back during October, Final Girl was doing a run of films all month. Films voted by fans as their favorites that Stacie had yet to watch, or do a review on. She encouraged others to join in, so I went through the list and did one review. The next one was going to be Left Bank (2008), but I ended up getting it late, and Stacie never got around to it anyway. So now I'm getting around to it at long last. Damn I'm lame.

Meet Marie (Eline Kuppens), a 22 year old who takes running very seriously. After running an important race, she finishes well enough in order to compete at the next stage. She is still unhappy about it since she finished in second. A short time after, she meets Bobby (Matthias Schoenaerts), an archer who is searching for his clothes that someone hid from him. He fails to get Marie to go out with him, but later on Marie begins to bleed while out shopping, and faints. Her doctor is worried since her blood tests aren't coming back normal and she hasn't had many periods over the last year. Now she is under orders to not only miss the next stage to her running, but she can't do much at all. Not wanting to stay with her overprotective mother, she decides to start seeing Bobby, who offers to let her stay with him until she gets better. Things go very well for the two until Marie discovers the lady who lived in the same apartment disappeared months earlier. Marie discovers that this lady was looking into something that has to with the building, something that Marie probably doesn't really want to know about.

I don't remember where Left Bank ended up on Stacie's list from a couple of years ago. I also don't remember how many votes it got. I could go look, but it really isn't that important. I'm pretty sure it got more than one vote though, and from what reviews I did read, Left Bank gets a lot of praise. Honestly, I don't get it. I don't know if something was lost for me, considering this was filmed in Belgium, or maybe it just wasn't my kind of story. Left Bank gets its name from the city of Antwerp, where a section of it is called Left Bank. This is where the movie mostly takes place. The story is a slow burn, it takes a good while before it starts to really hint at what is to come. Even then, it does it slowly. I guess it all depends on how well you like the ending. It will either make everything worth while, or it will leave you scratching you head trying to figure out what just happened. For me, it was a little of both. I got the ending, but I didn't understand everything that happened. I'm pretty sure most people didn't get the meaning of a mouse coming out of someone. Nothing against director/co-writer Pieter Van Hees though. I have to give him a lot of props for taking his time in telling the story. Not something you see a lot of in horror movies these days.

Left Bank isn't a gory film at all. There are some weird people to be found, a even weirder mask (or is it?), and a nasty looking knee after an accident. The acting is what carried this movie for me. This was Eline Kuppens first full length film, but you can't tell it too much. She has the body of a runner, and pulls off that part of it very well. She also isn't afraid to show off her body. This fits well for the film though, since part of the story is about Kuppens and Schoenaerts characters falling in love. The two work well together and their love scenes are convincing. Tom De Wispelaere has the part of the boyfriend of the missing woman. He has a bigger role than I was expecting, and manages to cause some needed friction between the two leads.

I'm not trying to hate on Left Bank. I did enjoy watching it. I was a little tired when I started the movie, but it held my interest all the way through the film all the same. Watching Marie's health slowly decline, and wondering why it is, kept me watching. Once the hints to things to come started to come in, it made it that much better. I guess I did feel a little disappointed with the ending, but given the theme of the film, there wasn't really any other way for it to end. While I do like Left Bank, I don't get all the hype for it. Don't take my word for it though, there are plenty out there who disagree with me. Left Bank has a good weird factor going with it, so there is always that if you like those type of films, which I normally love. If you have yet to check it out, do yourself a favor and do so.
3 out of 5 Hopefully no mouse ever comes out of me!


Jimmy the Saint said...

There are some weird people to be found, a even weirder mask (or is it?), and a nasty looking knee after an accident.

Does the accident involve the main character?

Jay Clarke said...

Hi Heather,

Just missed seeing this film at Fantasia a few years back, and had since forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me! Hope you had a good holidays :)

Heather Santrous said...

Jimmy: It might but that would be telling if I told you.

Jay: Thanks for leaving a comment! I know I don't on your blog much but I'm always reading it. The holidays wasn't too bad. Nothing real exciting but had a good time. How about yours?