On the Shore

On the Shore


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Michel (Daniel Duval) is a cop in trouble. We've met his sort before. Suffering from insomnia and fed up with his daily grind in the south of France, he's looking for any sort of escape route. "I need to go on sick leave," he says, before paying off a doctor to help him out.

Despite having a seemingly loving woman on hand - one of director Julien Donada's stand-out scenes sees her attempt to seduce him from the opposite side of a door that stands ajar but on a security chain - Michel is a man close to the edge. So, when he finds the body of a beautiful suicide victim (Chaira Caselli), his grip on reality becomes ever more tenuous. Does he know her for real or is he just creating an elaborate double life?

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What begins as intriguing mystery, filled with scenes that could be flashback or a product of Michel's obsession, quickly slips into confusion. Waves of information come at us but attempts to sort fact from fiction prove irritating rather than intriguing. The film is well shot, with a sultry quality, and several scenes are so beautifully constructed that they stick in the mind. Duval is wonderful as the troubled Michel, holding the interest even as it becomes clear there is more smoke here than fire.

The biggest problem with On The Shore is that it leaves the viewer standing on the beach, looking at a tumult of emotional waves but never becomes truly immersive.

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2011
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In Nice, fifty-year-old police officer Michel Matarasso feels old, weary, and desperate for an all-consuming love.
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Director: Julien Donada

Starring: Daniel Duval, Chiara Caselli, Thomas Gonzalez, Françoise Arnoul, Cyril Guei, Nanou Garcia, Aurélia Petit, Catherine Rouvel

Year: 2011

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: France


EIFF 2011

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