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The Intruder (L’intrus) | Review

The Hills Have Eyes

Lack of clarity in Claire Denis’ maddening exercise.

Mysteriously poetic, hypnotically colorful and extremely mute, Claire Denis’ oddly compelling, yet unfortunately disengaging film, will leave even art-house audiences scratching their heads. Inspired by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard and straying away from the conventional form, The Intruder introduces plenty of international locations, a multitude of characters and a de-structured logic in the narrative. Much like Trouble Every Day, this is assembled with almost no dialogue and drenched in vagueness. The story commences with an aged man played by Michel Subor who languishes in his own thoughts, – his secluded habitat in the snowy mountains and the presence of unwanted visitors tells us that this potential wanted man has been out of the game for a while. The narrative follows this one man’s road to redemption, but what and who he is running away from, or where he is headed to is shrouded in an abyss of mystery. At all times the character knows more than the audience and the film makes’ little effort in allowing the viewer in comprehending the protagonist’s need for reconciliation with his past. Clearly an experiment in narrative form and an exercise in style, Denis purposely does a hack job with the editing, disrupting the flow of information all the while infusing an eerie feeling throughout the picture. Going back and forth in the narrative, the story has no solid roots but like in Soderbergh’s The Limey, Denis includes some footage from the Subor’s own film vault to give the final tropical destination of the film some kind of checkpoint. IN your into visual storytelling with plenty of gaps to fill then this might be a worthy ticket, but for many, The Intruder will be interpreted as a pretentious film that makes no attempt to help the viewer in connecting all the dots – this is a frustrating exercise to say the least.

Rating 2 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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