Film-Forward Review: [AUTUMN]

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Michelle (Irène Jacob) &
Jean-Pierre (Laurent Lucas)
Photo: Truly Indie

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Directed, Produced, Written & Edited by: Ra’up McGee.
Director of Photography: Erin Harvey.
Music by: Cyril Morin.
Released by: Truly Indie.
Country of Origin: France/USA. 110 min. Not Rated.
With: Laurent Lucas, Irène Jacob, Michel Aumont, Dinara Droukarova & Jean-Claude Dreyfus.

American filmmaker Ra’up McGee’s devotion to French film noir is abundantly clear in this tribute made possible through the assembly of top-notch French actors, including veteran Michel Aumont. Laurent Lucas (recently of Lemming) stars as Jean-Pierre, a hit man with a conscience who grows ever more wary of his profession when he takes up with his childhood romantic interest Michelle, performed with nonchalant grace by Irène Jacob. His rendezvous with Michelle is short-lived, however; he finds out that it is she who has stolen a silver briefcase with a key inside whose absence has set the crime world into a frenzy. Her regression into crime quickly sends Jean-Pierre on the run from the Parisian mobsters he had vowed to part ways with.

Together with cinematographer Erin Harvey, McGee deserves credit for creating a hermetic, icy-colored world of crime that is eerily detached from the rest of Paris. McGee also shows potential in his direction of Jean-Pierre as well as his many supporting characters, who do not quite surface above their limited characterizations but are consistently watchable in their understated yet foreboding performances.

However, because McGee denies logic in favor of mood, the romance of Jean-Pierre and Michelle, which should have been the film’s centerpiece, loses credibility and even relevance as the film progresses. It is for the sake of retaining a mysterious aura that McGee constantly leaves out much-needed clarification of identities and backstory. He offers instead a series of incoherent flashbacks and an uneven plot twist, leaving his audience lost and ultimately apathetic in the film’s tangled labyrinth. Marie Iida
June 9, 2006



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