Saturday, February 18, 2012

Noir: A Modern Day Goodis Nightmare in France

Ethan Hawke in The Woman in the Fifth
The Woman in the Fifth - Promo Poster
The Woman in the Fifth - French Poster 

  1. The Woman in the Fifth
  2. Production year: 2011
  3. Country: Rest of the world
  4. Cert (UK): 15
  5. Runtime: 85 mins
  6. Directors: Pawel Pawlikowski
  7. Cast: Delphine Chuillot, Ethan Hawke, Joanna Kulig, Kristin Scott Thomas, Samir Guesmi
  8. More on this film
 The Woman in the Fifth, Pawel Pawlikowski's first film since My Summer of Love seven years ago and his first thriller. Not exactly an amnesia film but pretty close, it's based on a novel by Douglas Kennedy, the American writer resident in London, whose novel The Big Picture was filmed in France two years ago as L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie starring Romain Duris. Ethan Hawke plays Tom Ricks, an emotionally and sartorially frayed American university teacher and author of one novel, who goes to Paris in an attempt to patch up his failed marriage to a French woman and see his six-year-old daughter. He wakes up in the suburbs on a bus, his suitcase and wallet stolen, and finds a room at a seedy hotel. Thereafter nothing is as it seems. A sinister Arab confiscates his passport and gives him a curious night-time surveillance job. He gets involved with a menacing black neighbour, a young Polish waitress, a seductive Anglo-Romanian femme fatale (Kristin Scott Thomas) who works as a translator, and there's a peculiarly sordid murder. This is the nightmare territory of Cornell Woolrich, David Goodis and other American pulp authors much loved by Série noire readers, and Pawlikowski takes us on an edgy voyage au bout de la nuit.

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