I Stand Alone

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Hatred and loneliness and despair. And anger. The butcher's view of life is so dark, blind people celebrate in cellars. Except they don't. There is no celebration, only the guttural roar of one man's howl against a world that has rejected him. Gaspar Noé's film is that rare cinematic achievement, a truly original work that grips you by the neck and forces you to watch something so ugly, your mind bleeds.

The naturalism of the cinematography (Noé), the rage in the writing (Noé), the honesty of the direction (Noé) and the commitment of the actor (Phillipe Nahon) overcomes a feeling of disquiet, although there are scenes so graphic and brutal, you turn away. Essentially, it is the monlogue of a 50-year-old unemployed butcher, who returns to Paris after beating up his heavily pregnant mistress in Lille. He tries to find work, visits his autistic daughter in an institution, runs out of money and toys with a loaded pistol.

It seems hardly worth the journey, this sad excuse for a life, and yet Noé injects it with such vibrancy and vitriol, the tension of watching a dangerous man implode to the point of gabbling destruction is electric. Few films come close to naked truth. This does. It may not be a pretty sight, but holds nothing back. BEWARE!

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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I Stand Alone packshot
Shocking story of a butcher on the brink of violence.
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Director: Gaspar Noé

Writer: Gaspar Noé

Starring: Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, Frankie Pain, Martine Audrain, Jean-François Rauger, Guillaume Nicloux, Olivier Doran, Aïssa Djabri, Serge Faurie, Paule Abecassis, Stéphanie Sec

Year: 1998

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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