Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Daniel shares one of his favourite Disney films, ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’, on a new episode of Ink & Paint!x
review, Mothers' Instinct, Mothers', Instinct, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Veerle Baetens, Anne Coesens, Mehdi Nebbou, Arieh Worthalter, Jules Lefebvre, Luan Adam, Olivier Masset-Depasse, Drama, Thriller

DUELLES

★★★

AN OLD-SCHOOL FEMINIST PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

MY FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
20th February 2019

Masset-Depasse's 'Mothers' Instinct' is a throwback to a predominantly 1990s-era subgenre of psychological thriller. These films often pivoted on what used to be called a "[blank] from hell" scenario, as in "nanny from hell" ('The Hand that Rocks the Cradle') or "temp from hell" ('The Temp'), to name just a few. If one wishes to re-adopt this parlance, 'Mothers' Instinct' concerns "neighbours from hell"... but not in a fun 'The 'Burbs' way. These neighbours may or may not be turning a woman's fear of losing her infant child against her.

Two best friends, Alice (Veerle Baetens) and Céline (Anne Coesens), live with their families in early-1960s suburban Brussels, in a pair of identical, adjoining, middle-class houses. Their bond has been passed on to their eight-year-old sons, Théo and Maxime, who grew up together and are like brothers, and their husbands, Simon (Mehdi Nebbou) and Damien (Arieh Worthalter). But one day, Maxime is killed after falling from a window in an accident that Alice witnesses but is unable to prevent. After a period of depression, Céline accuses Alice of failing to save her son. Slowly, their once-perfect relationship starts to fall apart and, after small accidents begin occurring, Alice starts to suspect that her friend may be seeking revenge.

WATCH: 'MOTHERS' INSTINCT'

Loosely inspired by the crime novel 'Behind the Hatred' by Belgian writer Barbara Abel, the setting of the film has been changed to the 1960s, removing the protection of modern technology and policing technique. By enclosing everything within the adjoining houses - claustrophobic, parallel but still isolated spaces - the director ramps up the tension and allows the two female protagonists to battle it out. Every step they take alters the delicate balance of their silent war of contradictions, a game of mirrors between two worlds that initially seem identical, before falling apart (the French title of the film is 'Duelles').

Masset-Depasse establishes the hostilities existing within the film's quartet of characters with quiet confidence, as he exhibits one of the great and under-valued qualities of a thriller director: patience. The director allows the situation between Alice, Céline, Simon, and Demien to breathe, luxuriating in awkward silences, angry eruptions, and paranoid hiding and seeking, as they bubble up in the subtly stifling habitats of the two adjoining houses. Masset-Depasse cleverly exploits the obvious anxiety and unease of Alice, and the need for cocooning and privacy of the kind that is unavailable to her. The filmmaker understands that the possibility of chaos is scarier than chaos itself, as the latter provides the audience with a reassuring catharsis no matter how awful it may be.

Masset-Depasse establishes the hostilities existing within the film's quartet of characters with quiet confidence, as he exhibits one of the great and under-valued qualities of a thriller director: patience.

Narratively, 'Mothers' Instinct' follows a fairly classical type of Hitchcockian storytelling, which favours both the development of the suspense and that of the characters, and the film has something of Patrick Hamilton's drama 'Gaslight', as well as Hollywood domestic-menace movies like 'Fatal Attraction'. Ultimately, the film is at its best when it's not trying to ape and imitate other genre offerings, instead layering drama in alongside the chills.

Aided by strong, grounded performances by Veerle Baetens and Anne Coesens, 'Mothers' Instinct' is a nostalgic, old-school, intensely atmospheric feminist psychological thriller.

FAST FACTS
AKA: Mothers' Instinct
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 37m
CAST: Veerle Baetens
Anne Coesens
Mehdi Nebbou
Arieh Worthalter
Jules Lefebvre
Luan Adam
DIRECTOR: Olivier Masset-Depasse
WRITERS: Masset-Depasse
Giordano Gederlini
François Verjans
PRODUCERS: Olivier Bronckart
Jacques-Henri Bronckart
SCORE: Frédéric Vercheval
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry - Celebrating the Queen of country music
TRENDINGWIN DOLLY PARTON: 50 YEARS AT THE OPRYCelebrating the Queen of country music
Pain and Glory - Antonio Banderas' unforgettable drama
TRENDINGWIN PAIN AND GLORYAntonio Banderas' unforgettable drama
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
After We Collided - Wattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
TRENDINGAFTER WE COLLIDEDWattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
TRENDINGNYMPHOMANIACLars, sex and cinema
Antebellum - Socially conscious horror without any finesse or cleverness
TRENDINGANTEBELLUMSocially conscious horror without any finesse or cleverness
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
Dirt Music - A typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
TRENDINGDIRT MUSICA typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
23 Walks - A story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
TRENDING23 WALKSA story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Peninsula - An action-packed but brainless follow-up to a horror classic
TRENDINGPENINSULAAn action-packed but brainless follow-up to a horror classic
Swans: Where Does a Body End? - An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
TRENDINGSWANS: WHERE DOES A BODY END?An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us