The film may take place in London, and feature English actors, and be shot in English, but this is definitely French cinema. How do we know? Because the sex scenes hit hardcore explicitness, and none of the characters are particularly happy about any of the proceedings.
Jay is a former musician, now bartender, and left his family some years ago, in a fit of what appears to have been existential ennui/sexual angst. Now he lives in a run-down house, and is visited every Wednesday by woman with whom he has sex. Though the encounters are at first rather anonymous, Jay soon wants to know more about her, and starts to follow her. She is married, and simply taking time outs, while she is all Jay has.
The film is an unblinking look at the incompatible needs people bring to relationships, and is certainly far from cheery. The sex scenes, though undeniably brave, ultimately suffer from the fact that sex is not, for all its omnipresence, an inherently cinematic act (as opposed to violence, which is why a film that combines the two, such as Baise Moi, is more compelling). This means that it is virtually impossible to make repeated sex scenes consistently interesting. Still, the performances are impressive, and though the film does veer into the portentous, its ambition and seriousness of purpose are admirable.
The sound is very sharp. The 5.1 mix really comes into its own in traffic scenes, at least as far as sound effects are concerned. (The left/right separation could be stronger, though.) This is a film, however, primarily of dialogue and music, and both are well served. The dialogue is distortion-free.
The case indicates that the format is 1.85:1, but it is in fact 2.35:1. The transfer is free of pixellation and grain. The colours are a little variable. Scenes in Jay’s bar look terrific, and the overcast exterior scenes nicely capture the downer mood of the film. Some of the interior sequences in Jay’s house, however, are, I think, a little bit murkier than is necessary.
Not much to report here. The main page of menu is scored, and there’s a trailer (presented full screen).
The theme is ambitious, and the film is a mature, challenging work. If it is not altogether successful, that is no shame, and it had the courage to aim high.