Tuesday, November 11, 2008

La peau blanche (White Skin)

Don't expect to see something as quick and terrifying as an Asian flick! For a first movie, Daniel Roby did his best to adapt Joël Champettier's novel and keep as smartly as he can the combination of sensuality and horror. In the end, we can say that his mission is accomplished. However, to call a cat a cat, this film, in comparison with the novel, does have a few plot holes.

Even though Thierry (Marc Paquet) met Claire (Marianne Farley), a girl with red hair, for a very short period of time, he madly falls in love for her. Indeed, he loves her even though Claire has a very pale skin (something that Thierry doesn't like). Although Claire implores Thierry to stay out of her life, they're both attracted to each other. However, as Thierry discovers that Claire's young sister savagely attacked Henri (Frédéric Pierre), his roommate and best friend, in a hotel, he starts wondering who Claire really is.

Strangely enough, La peau blanche takes a little bit of time to take off, that is to get to the story's point. Nonetheless, when the storyline gets to its point, that is the first time when Thierry meets Claire, the story becomes extremely interesting. Indeed, it even leaves some space for some unpredictable situations that avoid being idiotic in themselves. However, the execution of the script seems slightly sloppy, for the scriptwriters often take the easiest ways to make the movie progress: instead of relying on elaborated dialogues between Claire and Thierry during their first meeting, the scriptwriters make them fall in love for each other in a sudden way with few explanations. Besides, add to that the few plot holes that don't emphasize enough on who Claire and her family, in comparison to Thierry, really are unlike what we saw in the novel.

Despite the flaw in the script, La peau blanche manages to stay on track thanks to Joël Champetier's talent to build coherent, incisive and also deep dialogues in most parts of the movie. From that, comes the solid performance of the well-chosen cast. In fact, what is surprising here is that the actors, especially Marianne Farley and Marc Paquet, play their character in such a natural way that we feel disarmed. All in all, with a performance that renders just correctly any emotion, there's no need to ask more from the cast!

Finally, although one may find that La peau blanche doesn't contain a particularly memorable or scary scene per se, it's a movie that should be taken for what it is. In a few words, it's a relatively troubling "horror" movie that focuses more on its script (that can be a little bit predictable and thinly developed at times) instead of absolutely trying to frighten viewers and eventually fall into sheer stupidity. However, be reassured: if you like small-budget horror films and a fairly good script, I'm sure that this one will keep you pinned to your seat until the very end. Oh, and for the information, the DVD title of this film in the USA is Cannibal.

Rating: 3.5/5

La peau blanche
Canada (2004)
Length: 92 minutes
Genre: Thriller
Scriptwriters: Daniel Roby and Joël Champetier
Director: Daniel Roby
Starring: Marc Paquet, Frédéric Pierre, Marianne Farley, Jessica Malka and Julie LeBreton

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