The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - OUT OF THIS WORLD | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - OUT OF THIS WORLD

Out Of This World review
A sinister uber driver becomes obsessed with a deaf dancer.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Marc Fouchard

Starring: Kévin Mischel, Aurélia Poirier, June Assal, Dominique Frot

Out Of This World poster

Let’s hear it for the cinema of the damaged white male with a troubled soul and dangerous edge. There’s only been actual thousands of films celebrating this archetype; where masculinity is presented as at once toxic but ultimately idealised, and the anxieties of its audience are cossetted, along with their grimy power fantasies cathartically fulfilled. What’s one more? Marc Fouchard’s Out Of This World knows its pedigree: its alienated protagonist is a Taxi Driver, who experiences a subjective reality ala Patrick Bateman, and also has a seemingly helpless propensity for enacting stylised violence (like any bloke in a Nicolas Winding Refn flick). The problem is that this dance and death drama doesn’t quite have the style, insight or knowing humour of its domineering influences. Potential spoilers ahead...

Out Of This World review

Kévin Mischel plays Léo (blandly gorgeous: think Kit Harrington hung out to drip dry for too long), a taxi driver who takes fares in between creating music on a laptop studio. His customers are by turn warm, passive or actively rude: one female passenger mid-phone call asks for him to turn down the awful music he is playing. It is, of course, Léo’s jam on the speakers - oops! He cuts a desultory figure, does Léo. An agent for other’s destiny as he conveys people from one part of their lives to the next, he is already liminal. He’s so shy, too. We are encouraged to have a certain sympathy for him when he falls for deaf passenger Amélie (Aurélia Poirier), and as he awkwardly shadows her to a studio where we discover she is a dancer. Léo, who the film has established as socially inept, spies on her as she throws herself about the dance space in a manner late '70s Kate Bush might have balked at for being a bit ‘big’. It IS a bit odd the way Léo watches her. Perhaps even creepy. But the narrative has presented us with two potentially recoverable lost souls - a deaf dancer/a reticent musician - and the romantic thing to do is to root for is their inevitable union, right?

Out Of This World review

But when they met, it was murder. Problem is it turns out Léo is a right fucking psycho who abducts women in his cab before killing them to death. Léo! We were rallying for you, son! His first in-film victim is the in-cab music critic from earlier - there is no Theatre of Blood style ironic retribution though, just a sad and sordid stabbing which culminates in a body dumped in a river. Pointedly, Léo’s violent nature is only revealed after we’ve invested in the prospective love story, and in him as an underdog protagonist. Furthermore, as it continues, the film positions Léo’s attacks and misogyny as compulsive, almost as if he has no control over himself. For me there was something deeply problematic about this paradigm, the blithe suggestion that Léo is somehow a victim, too. This reading is facilitated by how stylised the film is, and if the violence is not presented as exciting it is certainly positioned as elegiac, suggesting Léo and the film itself is wistfully repentant of the grim spectacle they enact. It rests uneasy.

Your acceptance of ideology may vary, but what is perhaps more pertinent is how unconvincing Out Of This World comes across as at times. As a serial killer who can’t help acting on impulse, Léo’s sloppiness would surely have the gendarmes breathing down his neck tout suite. There’s a sort-of get out clause where occasionally the narrative fakes us and it transpires that the bad murder Léo just done was all in his head (an absolute cinema pet hate of mine), but this American Psycho-esque unreliable subjectivity doesn’t work out because we know that Léo DOES kill women, and in ways that are frankly unrealistic, anyway. It’s an affectation, empty cinematic posturing.

Out Of This World review

On that tip, throughout the plot, as Léo’s desires intensify, we see Amélie doing her dancing from afar. She enacts the sort of moves you’d see in a Sia video; contemporary dance composed of shapes and sweeps and rise and fall. It’s the sort of motion which, deployed expertly and within the right contexts, can be devastating in its emotional resonance, but otherwise does run the risk of looking a bit silly and pretentious. A fitting style for this film, then, with its off-kilter presentations of male anxieties, clumsy serial killer chic and icky romanticising of its lonesome murderer.

Out Of This World is on UK/ROI VOD from December 5th.

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