Julia Ducournau’s Titane hits you hard. Provocative, thrilling, chaotic, and completely original. I was blown away.
Warning: Minor Plot Spoilers in this Review
How does one explain a movie like Titane? Writer-director Julia Ducournau’s (2016's Raw) newest French picture transcends you to another dimension. Titane is a film that one has to see to believe. It's wild, organic, and riveting, from the first to the final frame. Ducournau’s transgressive horror will seep into your bones; you won't know what hit you. Our film starts out with 7-year-old Alexia (Adèle Guigue), who gets in a car accident with her father and cracks open her head. Alexia goes into surgery, and the doctors have to surgically implant a large titanium plate into her skull. A metal brace is now placed around Alexia's head like an unholy halo. Ducournau's film sets the tone from there, gifting us with a violent, gender-bending, and orgasmic experience through blood and oil. Jump to adult Alexia (played by an intoxicating Agathe Rousselle), who works as a showgirl at a motor show.
Yet, there's a dark secret that lingers around Alexia. She's also a serial killer. Whether it's a female lover or a male harasser, Alexia will eventually penetrate them in their ear with her razor-sharp hair stick, killing them instantly. Without giving too much away, Titane is a film that's fluid in both its sexuality and gender, turning these subject matters upside down on their heads. You might have already heard, yes, Alexia's character has sex with a vintage Cadillac and gets pregnant. That's as far as I'll go with that topic. You'll have to watch and experience this for yourself. There's also actor Vincent Lindon who plays somewhat of an adoptive father in the film. One who is tormented by his aging body. Furthermore, there's a firefighter's dancing scene that I cannot get out of my head. Full of purple tones and cinematic bliss, it's wondrous. Rousselle's character is mostly nonverbal throughout the picture, but her demons run free.
As we see Alexia's pregnancy progress, she also begins to drip motor oil from multiple places on her body. Ducournau’s sadistic feature is one that cannot be shaken off long after the credits end. Titane had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in July, where Ducournau became only the second female director to win the Palme d'Or (the festival's top award). She also became the first female director to win the top award solo (director Jane Campion won in 1993, jointly). Titane was also selected as the French entry for the Best International Feature Film for next year's 94th Academy Awards. This should be an exciting awards season. Titane comes, starts its engine, and races to the finish line. A provocative odyssey that takes one down roads never seen before. You will gasp, laugh, and be hypnotized by Ducournau's dangerously vivid direction. Titane is a liberating experience. Go watch it NOW.
Titane is rated R (Restricted) Language | Graphic Nudity | Disturbing Material | Sexual Content | Strong Violence.
Directed by Julia Ducournau
Starring Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Garance Marillier, Lais Salameh, Bertrand Bonello, and Dominique Frot.
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