Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur)
12th October 2018 11.59pm at Prince Charles Cinema
13th October 2018 3.00pm at Vue West End
What do you get when you mix humour, slasher, grotesque cinematography and LGBTQ representations together? Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur). This bizarre synthesis of fundamentally different elements by Yann Gonzalez is highly ambitious and strives to be a hyper-modern piece of art. Sadly, a range of silly mistakes mars the overall presentation, resulting in a comparatively mediocre comedy which is, at best, good for the odd laugh.
This is extremely frustrating, since the plot is laughably absurd enough to promise a somewhat entertaining picture. Anne (Vanessa Paradis) is a producer and director of queer z-porn. But after her lover and video editor Louïs (Kate Moran) breaks up with her, the protagonist aims to produce the hit film Homocide with her second-in-command, Archibald (Nicolas Maury). Things go brutally wrong when her actors become the target of a serial killer.
The pacing is all over the place, at times extremely quick with one joke following the other in a seemingly unrelated mishmash, at others so slow it almost comes to a complete stop, resulting in a mixed tone and a confused audience. The soundtrack is a cheap synthesiser-style music reminiscent of the 80s, which would be fine if the film generally was trying to create nostalgia for that era. Worst of all, the comedy is more miss than hit, the screenplay littered with an abundance of cheap sex jokes trying to shock for comedic effect rather than relying on wit, as though that was the only type of humour suitable to a queer-focused comedy.
At least the plot is consistent in its absurdity, which goes nicely hand in hand with beautifully grotesque shots. The feature is nice to look at, with a touch of rust and cheapness containing a certain charm enhanced even more by a decent and likeable cast who always give their best and generally manage to capture the hilarity of their characters. Although little else works, these aspects do make the picture watchable.
Sadly, they don’t serve enough to save the movie from itself. Despite the good idea, despite the competent execution of the shots and the acting, the flaws are just too off-putting, too jarring to make it good by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, Knife + Heart is bearable to an audience just wanting to switch off for the 90 minutes of its runtime, who enjoy films with a grotesque feel.
Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur) here: