A Very Long Engagement (2004)

very_long_engagement

A young woman refuses to believe that her fiancee was killed in action in WWI and sets about finding out what happened to he and his comrades in their final days.

The one thing you can count on from Jeunet is that you will be treated to a beautiful looking film and once again he does not disappoint. A Very Long Engagement is a visual feast with a score to match and complete with his usual ensemble cast of nicely played, likeable eccentrics, this is a very difficult film to dislike. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its flaws. They mainly lie in the way that the romantic elements to the story and those concerning combat don’t quite gel; I couldn’t help thinking that I was actually watching two films spliced together. The investigation is also a little haphazard and unstructured and it just seemed that facts kept randomly coming to light without much in the way of narrative flow; having said that, it does have moments of genius and certain scenes are captivating. Audrey Tautou puts in another fine performance but Marion Cotillard virtually steals the film out from under her as a vengeful prostitute and I wish I’d seen more of her character.

As a whole it doesn’t quite fit together and as a result lacks the emotional resonance it could have had, but the good far outweighs the bad.

7.5/10

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