Unforgivable | Movie review
French director André Téchiné returns with another cluttered ensemble drama.
Everyone knows everyone in the films of André Téchiné. The French director, who made the great Wild Reeds in 1994 and a string of not-quite-as-good pictures in the years that followed, has long been fascinated by the overlapping social circles of his bed-hopping characters. His latest presents a typically tangled web of friends, neighbors, lovers and kin. At the center is crime novelist Francis (veteran French actor André Dussollier), who marries his real-estate agent, Judith (onetime Bond girl Carole Bouquet), a bisexual beauty with a rocky romantic history. There’s enough dramatic tension in that setup to fuel a feature, but Téchiné—back in his usual ensemble mode—keeps adding plot strands. Among the cluster of supporting players pulled into the fold are Francis’s philandering daughter (Mélanie Thierry); Judith’s former lover, a private eye (Adriana Asti); and the sleuth’s ex-convict son (Mauro Conte), whom Francis hires to spy on his wife.
For a blissful spell, the movie flirts with becoming a noirish study in voyeuristic obsession. (Téchiné, replicating a view through binoculars, briefly aligns our perspective with that of his distrustful protagonist.) In the end, however, Unforgivable is a bit too relaxed to function as a thriller. Though admirably unpredictable, its plot is also spread thin among these fickle lovers. “I need to be unsettled,” the cheating daughter says at one point, rationalizing her infidelity. It’s Téchiné, though, who could really stand to be shaken out of his routine.