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MOVIE NEWS: FTN reviews Chinese Puzzle

July 4th, 2014 by Conor ONeill Comments

Chinese Puzzle/Casse-tête chinois (15)
Directed by: Cédric Klapisch
Starring: Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou & Cécile De France
Running time: 117 min

A 40-year-old father’s life is complicated when the mother of his two children moves to New York. Since he can’t bear them growing up far away from him, he decides to move there as well.

If you suffer allergic reactions to good movies, prepare to get the nor-adrenaline pen ready or anaphylactic shock is steam-training its way to you poor pilgrim. Want sweating street-runs, frantic packing of suitcases, a lesbian sha#@ing her baby-sitter, attempted murder over a parking incident, arranged marriages, a publisher screaming down the telephone shouting: ‘Happiness doesn’t sell!’, the craziest and possibly the most corrupt lawyer in NYC… with this in mind, throw a wee tap of paprika, ginger, a few tonnes of New Jersey sludge, and a bit of whatever is left in the larder for good measure and you’ve got a film worth watching.

French subtitles? Forget them; tis nice to know you’re being educated while entertained. The movie licks off – no typo – rather differently than its two predecessors. Here there’s much more Tarantino-style influence: strange shots, almost odious-slick sound-track, the narrator speaking his idea of the truth with first pleasure then measured defiance, before the non-typical European resolution of the movie proves true.

This, his third and final instalment of the trilogy from director Cédric Klapisch’s is a halt and a hand-washing, Pontius Pilate style of mixing the archaic with the modern should surely seal this trilogy as a point of reference for film students from Five-Mile-Town to San Fran-disco.

Take a European movie, give it a healthy budget, add great plot, terse script and an American setting. Get good actors, namely Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Kelly Reilly and Cecile de France. Divorce, exodus, turkey-basters, animated Playboy magazines, rooftop get-aways, clandestine meetings on unknown bridges, all this in 117 minutes of beautifully shot film-making

But let’s get to the heart of the movie. There’s a writer with a complicated life writing a book about the complications of life. He’s not allowed to have a happy ending and living in NY’s China Town he juggles friends, ex-lovers, publishers, lawyers and the best of the rest trying to get someone’s someone undressed, and they play on the fact that they know they’re acting the heck out of a great plot and part of an extraordinary trilogy. Let’s not be pedantic about Klapisch’s attention to detail, the actors’ diligence approaching monastic, the gorgeous and threatening cityscapes of NYC, this movie will blow your mind.

I hate writing ‘Go see this movie’, but if I must write take your boyfriend, girlfriend, mistress, dominatrix, serf or squire to a movie this month, then ‘Go See This Movie.’

4 out of 5 Nerds

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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.