Incendies

Data
Title: Incendies
Year: 2010 (Québec); 2011 (US)
Length: 130 minutes
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Denis Villeneuve, with Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne, based on a play by Wajdi Mouawad
Starring: Lubna Azabal
With: Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard, Abdelghafour Elaaziz, Allen Altman
Cinematography: André Turpin
Music: Grégoire Hetzel (and non-original music)
Oscars: nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
I saw it: in the theater, yesterday
Synopsis: Canadian siblings learn about their mother’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war

My reaction
Concept:3/4 (Good)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent) There are two stories. First, there are flashbacks to the mother’s life, which is unoriginal but extremely well done. Second, there’s the modern day uncovering of the mystery, which was a great concept, but it doesn’t really work. Thanks to the flashbacks, we always know more than the protagonists, meaning we’re not seeing it from their perspective, and their whole story line is rendered dramatically superfluous. There is a great story to be told here, though, if it had been done better.
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:1/4 (Bad) It doesn’t help that during all the present day scenes (half the movie), you’re just waiting to get back to the flashbacks.
Cinematography:1/4 (Bad) I don’t know, it’s possible that the theater was projecting from a dim bulb or a crappy print, but judging from a google image search, I don’t think that’s the case. Anyway, the movie as I saw it looked like it was projected from a dim bulb or a crappy print.
Special effects/design:4/4 (Great)
Acting:4/4 (Great)
Music:2/4 (Indifferent) Fucking Radiohead.
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay, 2/4 (Indifferent)). It’s interesting. Rarely gripping, though.
Objective Rating (Average):2.5/4 (Okay)

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