Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video
Directed by: Olivier Assayas.
Produced by: Edouard Weil & Xavier Giannoli.
Written by: Assayas.
Director of Photography: Denis Lenoir.
Edited by: Luc Barnier.
Music by: Sonic Youth.
Released by: Palm Pictures.
Country of Origin: France. 120 min. Not Rated.
With: Connie Nielsen, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny & Gina Gershon.
Special Features: Interviews with Connie Nielson, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny & Olivier Assayas. English & Spanish subtitles. Trailers.
Japanese anime and porn, S &M, office satire: this intriguing hybrid thriller is an
impersonal video game of a movie. Like a cutthroat version of Working Girl, an
aptly described ice queen Diane (Nielsen) sabotages the career of one rival at her
international conglomerate to control the negotiations with a prominent Japanese
animation producer. But Demonlover, an American distribution company of violent and
illegal porno Web sites, also wants control of these images. Demonlover’s rep is the
equally determined Elaine (Gershon). But Diane is burning her candle at both ends. She’s
also a double agent for Demonlover’s archrival, paid to thwart the impending deal.
Even when the threadbare story is barely moving forward, the bombardment of
mesmerizing erotic and violent images compel you to watch. Along with a pulsating
soundtrack, Demonlover is an assault of the senses. Though film buffs will like
the many references, the story takes a back seat to the visuals, and images, no matter how
sensational, can only carry a film so far. Like their surroundings, the characters are way
too cool to be anything more than action figures in Assayas’s game of cat and mouse.
Eventually, Demonlover doesn’t bother to make sense. And losing narrative
cohesion, it becomes silly and overwrought, a satire with little bite. Oddly, for such a
sexy and violent film (the highlight is the bloody, knocked-down catfight between
Nielsen and Gershon), underlying Demonlover is a Puritanical warning against
the dehumanizing effects of the new media. Kent Turner
DVD Extras: In these very intimate interviews, we are given a revealing and interesting look into film
production. Smoking a cigarette in her trailer, down-to-earth Danish actress Connie Nielsen
speaks of her first time in an European film after shining in Hollywood. American actress Chloë
Sevigny comments on the difficulties in working on a film where the director has little
involvement in the actual direction. And Assayas, a young looking man relaxed in a striped polo
shirt, speaks of his personal attachment to the film, its philosophical metaphors and the reasons
for its violence. Lisette Johnson