Review: The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - December 18, 2015
Review: The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

Think for a minute about some of your all-time favorite films… “ET,” “Forrest Gump,” “Sideways,” “Black Swan.” They all have one thing in common, in terms of their title: it is short and to the point. For those of you thinking of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” just bear with me, please.

The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun” is the latest offering from French comics artist AND director, Joann Sfar. Although he has not been in the film world for very long, he HAS garnered some acclaim for his work in “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life” and “The Rabbi’s Cat,” both of which he at least wrote, as well as directed. Since then, his responsibilities have been limited to ONLY producing or directing.

From the moment the movie begins, it is in your face with an aggressive style and exciting, progressive music. The editing is interesting: stylish, but purposeful. The film chooses to have you SEE what is in the minds of the character, rather than hear it. Consequently, when two or more people are in the scene and a mental image flashes across the screen, you cannot be entirely sure WHOSE brain it is coming from.

Our story seemingly takes place in the time of the 1960s. There does not appear to be any tangible reason for this decision, aside from, perhaps, an arbitrary use of the looks and designs of that era. Truthfully, this story could have taken place in nearly any time period, as long as cars and phones were in existence.

The primary, focal character of “The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun” is Dany, played by a Scottish import, fluent in French and piano and was once a member of the National Youth Choir of Scotland. Freya Mavor began her acting career in some unremarkable short films, but has since moved on to bigger roles in bigger films, even prior to this one. Dany is an adept typist, who has been given a new assignment from a mysterious gentleman, Michel Caravaille, played by Benjamin Biolay, who can best be described as something like a French version of Colin Firth.

The two have a mutual connection, Caravaille’s wife, Anita, played by Stacy Martin, who is best known for her breakout performance of the dramatic film, “Nymphomaniac.” Anita is an old friend of Dany’s, though they are both still pretty young to begin with. It might be worth noting that this is where the movie has difficulty tying up plot holes, which await us. In other words, the story made me think it would be character-driven, but it is actually more story-driven. The apparent mash-up of the two elements makes for a rather confusing story and pretty frustrating development.

Dany is working for the married couple, from their home and is asked to take them to the airport and just drive the vehicle back to the house, which, by the way is a Ford Thunderbird and, perhaps, the most intriguing piece throughout the film. Dany decides to take a long ride down to the beach, instead, and THIS is where everything goes wrong. She shops along the way and has rough, awkward encounters with individuals who swear they have seen her before, but she says, with great conviction, that she has NEVER been to any of these places. I began to question the sanity of Dany and wondered if there was a symbolic nature to her “iconic” glasses. The further she traverses south, to the beach, the more trouble she finds herself in. A shady man, played by Italian actor Elio Germano, tries to take advantage of the car AND her body and is successful in doing both. Unusual discoveries lead to busted heads and the unveiling of a large shotgun, all of which Dany has no recollection. She must be crazy, right?

Well, you will likely find the pay-off, in the end, to be less than satisfactory. Once the true nature of the story unfolded, I was even more confused by the scenes, which preceded it and found the whole manifestation illogical and ridiculous. It felt as though anything in the story or thoughts I had about the characters, prior to the ending, suddenly meant nothing. Is it fair to blame this all on the moviemakers? Well, as it turns out, there is a 1970 film, for which this one was adapted from and, yes, it went by the same title. However, when YOU are holding a movie in your hands, remake or not, it is YOUR baby and YOU are responsible for it. Style and flair can only take a film so far. The substance of this version of “The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun” does NOT raise any curiosity in me to see the original. THAT, in and of itself, goes down as a fail. Mister Sfar, it is time for you to get back in the writing chair.

Official Trailer:

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1 Comment on "Review: The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun"

  • Lane Burkholder

    This was a very good movie, but I like ET and Forrest Gump better.

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