Out of This World review – art and misogyny collide in murderous obsession

The psychotic male with a poetic side is an old saw, but director Marc Fouchard brings some original and freshly disturbing touches to it

This artfully made, borderline-despicable French drama revolves around Leo (Kévin Mischel), a brooding, lonely taxi driver with cheekbones sharp as dressmaker’s shears, a secret talent for musical composition, romantic longings for pretty dancer Amélie (Aurélia Poirier) and the uncontrollable urge to kill women. Whether he actually does that or not isn’t clear at first, since scenes where he murders one woman turn out to be fantasies … or are they?

In a way, this film seems to not care either way because it’s essentially much more interested in Leo and his mental anguish: anguish that is seeded by a former chanteuse mother (Dominique Frot) who beat him when he was little. The whole handsome-tragic-murderer shtick is one we’ve seen before in an assortment of films, from Peeping Tom and Taxi Driver to Kim Ki-duk’s Bad Guy – but at least writer-director Marc Fouchard brings a few offbeat touches that add some fresh texture. For a start, Amélie, Leo’s object of obsession, happens to be deaf which means she can’t hear the music Leo has written and plays in the car, which one customer complains about rudely. But deafness doesn’t stop Amélie from being an expressive, mesmeric dancer, and the bits where she performs are some of the best passages of the film.

Elsewhere, Fouchard’s blurring of the lines between reality and fantasy and fluid editing are genuinely adept and very disturbing, enough to make one look forward to seeing what he does next. Music, as befits a film about a composer and a dancer, is skilfully incorporated into the plot and the bits of music that Leo is supposed to have written (actually composed by Pascal Boudet, AKA Cyesm), are indeed rather lovely, little cycles of repetitious patterns that earworm inside your head, much like the film itself.

• Out of This World is released on 5 December on digital platforms.

Contributor

Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The World Is Yours review – brash Franco-crime caper
Isabelle Adjani and Vincent Cassel star in a carnivalesque romp peopled by the chancers and artful dodgers of France’s immigrant underclass

Phil Hoad

25, Apr, 2019 @4:00 PM

Article image
Cop Secret review – Reykjavík’s answer to Hot Fuzz in action flick sendup
Former footballer Hannes Þór Halldórsson makes his film debut with a goofy comedy about a knucklehead cop afraid to come out as gay

Cath Clarke

17, May, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Casque d’Or review – Jacques Becker’s gripping tragic drama of Parisian lowlife
Simone Signoret stars in a dark tale of love in the belle époque underworld that is a unmissable classic with a pitilessly grim finale

Peter Bradshaw

24, Nov, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
Les Misérables review – savvy cop procedural swerves into molotov mayhem
Ladj Ly’s debut feature is a police drama set in a tough Paris suburb that loses subtlety as it erupts into violence

Peter Bradshaw

15, May, 2019 @6:13 PM

Article image
Pickpocket review – existential thrills in Robert Bresson’s study of a thief’s progress
Bresson’s 1959 film about a misfit who dreams of rising above conventional morals is a brilliant example of the cinema of ideas

Peter Bradshaw

31, May, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
Oxygen review – air runs out for claustrophobic survival nightmare
Mélanie Laurent is excellent as a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with enough oxygen to last the length of the film

Peter Bradshaw

13, May, 2021 @8:00 AM

Article image
The Lodger review – Jacqueline Bisset’s slinky landlady holds key to lurid thriller
Bisset vamps it up as a white-haired femme fatale in this amusing and atmospheric French mystery

Leslie Felperin

12, Oct, 2021 @8:00 AM

Article image
Final Cut (Coupez!) review – Hazanavicius’s silly, splattery zombie horror meta-farce
The Artist director’s remake of the Japanese cult film One Cut of the Dead is an undemanding, easygoing way to kick off the Cannes film festival

Peter Bradshaw

17, May, 2022 @8:56 PM

Article image
Argentina 1985 review – rousingly-acted junta trial dramatisation
Ricardo Darin anchors this courtroom drama as the chief prosecutor bringing military leaders to justice for human rights abuse

Peter Bradshaw

03, Sep, 2022 @4:45 PM

Article image
Night in Paradise review – operatic Korean display of gunfire and death
This blood-splattered Korean gangster flick with a romantic subplot follows Tae-Gu as he hides out from his enemies

Leslie Felperin

08, Apr, 2021 @11:00 AM