Eye For Film >> Movies >> Slalom (2020) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
Dark and disturbing undercurrents are never far from the surface in Charlène Favier’s assured debut feature set agains the backdrop of the world of highly competitive skiing.
The bright blue skies and glistening snowscapes of Val d’Isère only serve to pinpoint the traumas facing 15-year-old Lyz (played by newcomer Noée Abita) whose sporting ambitions lead her to an elite Alpine instruction school. There she’s confined far from friends and family to concentrate on her skills.
It’s a febrile and claustrophobic atmosphere in which the young girl falls under the tutelage of a chilling Jérémie Renier as the perpetually sardonic coach who takes advantage of the girl’s impressionable psyche and his position of power and influence over her.
Favier dials down the histrionics to concentrate on the manipulative way the coach plays around with the girl’s fragile emotions, reducing her to a despairing wreck.
Although set in the arena of sport Favier’s main concerns revolve around the abuse of power in any domain whether it be business or education or whatever which gives the film its universal appeal.
The performances of Abita and Renier are in perfect harmony with their characters’ evolution - a chilling cat and mouse exercise that makes fascinating yet uncomfortable viewing. Favier demonstrates her skills as a fearless director with vision who knows how to confront a difficult subject with a forensic rigour.Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2021
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