Film-Forward Review: [DEMONLOVER]

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Connie Nielsen as Diane
Photo: Palm Pictures

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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
September 12, 2003

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
April 15, 2004



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