Trilogy 3: After Life

Trilogy 3: After Life


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Drug dependency has been portrayed every which way on screen, but seldom as affectively as here. Dominique Blanc's performance is startling for many reasons, but mainly because it excavates the soul of someone no longer alive to the world. She expresses the all consuming nature of addiction without stealing a single breath from another actor, who might have flailed through these traumas in previous films.

Agnes is a teacher, married to Pascal (Gilbert Melki), a detective on the Grenoble police force. He brings her morphine, supplied by the local crime boss, thus compromising his position.

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Their relationship is complex, his love for her genuine and intense, hers for him clouded by the drug, as if he has become the bringer of good feelings, like a messenger from The Man, rather than her husband, lover and friend.

Pascal can't do his job properly, especially when the crime boss asks him to shoot an escaped terrorist (Lucas Belvaux) on sight, or else the morphine supply runs dry. Aware that he is being blackmailed, Pascal refuses and Agnes becomes desperate.

As the final episode of Belvaux's ambitious trilogy, After Life suffers from its dark obsessions. The pace is slow, enlivened by Blanc's expressive tantrums, which illustrate nothing more than the self-destructive rage of a deprived junkie.

Melki is a stone wall actor. His expression seldom changes. Emotions are locked away, somewhere beyond sight. Pascal is hurt by his love for Agnes, as well as trapped by it. The pain in his face appears genuine.

Standing alone, the film is dominated by Blanc's performance. As the conclusion of another story, or rather a separate take on Trilogy 1 - the policeman's view - it adds little.

This judgement may be harsh, as the movies deserve to be viewed together as a five hour whole. Unlike Kieslowski's Three Colours trilogy, Belvaux retains the same actors and follows, to a certain extent, the same storyline.

Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2003
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Final part in the trilogy about a Grenoble detective and an escaped con.
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Director: Lucas Belvaux

Writer: Lucas Belvaux

Starring: Dominique Blanc, Gilbert Melki, Ornella Muti, Francois Morel, Lucas Belvaux, Catherine Frot

Year: 2002

Runtime: 123 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Belgium/France


EIFF 2003

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