HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
   
 
Newest Articles
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
   
 
  Very Long Engagement, A Patience Is A Virtue
Year: 2004
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, Dominique Pinon, Chantal Neuwirth, André Dussollier, Ticky Holgado, Marion Cotillard, Dominique Bettenfeld, Jodie Foster, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Clovis Cornillac, Jean-Pierre Becker, Denis Lavant, Jérôme Kircher
Genre: Drama, War, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in 1917, as the First World War was nearing its end, there were a group of five French soldiers who were to be punished for deliberately injuring their hands in an attempt to be discharged from service, even though one of them had shot his hand by accident. The military authorities could see nothing but cowardice in the men's actions, and felt no compassion for, say, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), the youngest at eighteen, who had been hit through the palm by a German bullet he had courted on purpose after the pressure of the trenches had gotten too much for him. But Manech had fiancée Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) waiting for him, little knowing he was being sent to his death...

Or was he? It's the triumph of hope against reason that powers the narrative of A Very Long Engagement, or Un long dimanche de fiançailles if you were French, which was the film that Tautou and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet followed their international success Amelie with. This was nowhere near the hit that their previous film had been, probably because although it has just as much faith in the power of love to conquer all, this is married to an exceedingly over-involved plotline that frequently makes it seem as if its heroine is deluded.

I am not going to reveal the ending, but it's this faith that she is in the right, this gut feeling that directs her actions, that gives Mathilde her purpose in life, and in turn the reason we keep watching. You do wonder that if Manech has indeed died at the Front you might be wasting as much time on him as Mathilde - well, not three years' worth of time, but at least that compressed into a couple of hours - yet Tautou brings out a steely determination that elicits a compulsion to stick with her. This in spite of using a variation on the old "If the toilet stops flushing before I get to the bottom of the stairs I will die" form of deduction.

In real life, experience will usually tell you that if you have hoped for years for something to happen along when all evidence points to it never occuring, then the best thing to do is give up and move on, but this is the cinema we're talking about, and besides there would be no story about war worth telling if there was not a triumph against impossible odds. Unless you're making one of those war films about sacrifice counting for nothing, which does happen, and might be the case here. A Very Long Engagement is in its twisting, winding fashion a detective yarn, drawing you in with each clue and snatching back your attention with each surprise, even when the trail appears to have gone cold.

Needless to say, this is all deeply romantic, the thought that a love affair can continue far after the couple have been split up, and Mathilde keeping the flame alive is a source of admiration. Jeunet films this by flitting from each development and revelation like a bee visiting each flower looking for nectar, never settling on one thread for too long when there are a host of others lining up to be examined. It has an abundance of style, as is always the case with this director, but it's not too distracting, and if you find your mind wandering (this is very complicated for such simple emotions driving it) then you can appreciate each painterly frame as it dances onto the screen. It's a journey worth taking as an illustration of the indomitability of the human spirit when the enormity of war's tragedy strikes, although its quirks verge strongly on the overfamiliar and it's never quite as profound as it aims to be. Music by Angelo Badalamenti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2646 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: