Treat Me Like Fire (Joueurs)
Director Marie Monge wastes no time with exposition: when the intriguingly mysterious Abel (Tahar Rahim) appears at the little café that Ella (Stacy Martin) manages for her father asking for a job, we have no clue as to how things might play out. He sweet talks her into giving him a trial run that night and just as it looks like things might turn romantic, he nabs all of the cash out of the till and makes a run for it. Ella pursues him into the streets of Paris and again the viewer wonders, how will this end? Treat Me Like Fire keeps us on our toes with an exhilarating yet flawed romance set against the seedy scene of underground gambling. At first fascinating for its unique twist on the classic whirlwind love-gone-wrong structure, it loses punch when the story plays out and we continue until into a depressing downward spiral.
Ella is more or less your average girl. She actually offers little information about herself and there’s not much of a backstory. That’s perhaps why it’s so intriguing when Abel steps onto the scene; he immediately offers the opportunity for her to become exciting, a person with an interesting backstory. With the stolen money they start off with a period of tremendous luck but immediately once things begin to cool off, so does the relationship. What started as a fun rush of adrenaline quickly morphs into the ugly realm of an addiction and begins to wreak havoc on Ella’s life. What’s more is that Abel proves to be unreliable and untrustworthy, leaving her hanging out to dry more than once.
We’re strung along on the hope that Abel might genuinely love Ella, enough that he’d change and become a better person for her. But oddly enough, Treat Me Like Fire ends up being more of a cautionary tale rather than a love story. It’s a valid choice to make the point that addiction can ruin a relationship (or blind you from seeing the obvious in the first place) but, in this case, it feels like a letdown. The viewer is invested in their relationship from the get-go so to watch it sour in such a horrific way – and then to deliver the ending that it has – feels beyond unexpected.
Treat Me Like Fire (Joueurs)does not have a UK release date yet.
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