This week’s choice is a film that has polarised movie-goers – ‘Nocturama’ by French director Bertrand Bonello is a daring and controversial portrait of Parisian youths conducting terror attacks around the city.
Written long before the recent wave of attacks in France, the film is divided in two acts. Act One follows the protagonists, a mix of young people of different origins, through a set of carefully timed actions across the French capital. In Act Two, they gather in a luxury department store where they intend to spend the night in hiding. Whether on the streets of Paris or inside the shopping centre, the atmosphere is stifling, the outcome inevitable.
Bonello never judges his characters, chosing rather to chronicle their actions in a contemplative manner leaving it up to the viewer to make up his mind.
Nor does he give much away regarding their motives. The power of the film lies in the suggested. The dreamlike world of the luxury store – their temporary prison – becomes the stage of surreal scenes where the protagonists, exhilarated by their actions but realising the end is near, await their doom.
Whether you see in it a study of the psychology of violence, a comment on consumerism, or simply a thrilling stylistic exercise, ‘Nocturama’ will haunt you long after you’ve seen it. Have a great movie, see you soon.