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The Woman in the Fifth

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

France, 2011

Cornerhouse, 25 February 2012

The Woman in the Fifth

Despite several fine performances, this is a disappointing film.

It shares the same failing as Black Swan, in that implausible or weird events are explained as occurring within the mind of an unstable and quite probably insane central character.  The upshot is that you come to doubt pretty much everything that you’re seeing; and it matters not a jot.  Reality gives emotional weight to experience, and when it’s called into question, emotional investment takes flight too.

There’s good acting from Ethan Hawke as Tom, a disturbed writer, and from Kristin Scott Thomas, who’s a stunning, seductive and sinister beauty.  But the film as a whole is a falderal; you fairly soon don’t accept anything in it as real.  And it would be unable to sustain a second viewing.

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