Matthias & Maxime
Serving as writer, director and lead of Matthias & Maxime, Xavier Dolan is no stranger to hard work and dedication in the film industry. The Canadian has poured his creativity into a series of gritty, emotional and original pictures that have racked up numerous indie awards in a variety of categories.
However, whilst his latest flick continues to deliver solid performances and emotional power, there isn’t enough substance in Matthias & Maxime to grant Dolan a return to form.
The plot is fairly simplistic, as you would expect from Dolan, and this usually garners his best artistic impression: Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas) and Maxime (Dolan himself) are working on a student project whereby, according to the script, they must engage with each other romantically. Predictably, they begin to question their friendship and sexuality. They must navigate a new normal within their wider circle and begin to understand each other on a deeper level.
The film is slow, and although this isn’t necessarily a nail in the coffin, the lack of story originality and the parallels between the characters’ personalities leaves for a narrative that is played out. The inciting incident seems to lack enough motivation for the events and feelings that proceed it, meaning the audience is left to question the validity of the characters’ actions and the plot development.
The soundtrack is intriguing, and the experimentation of the peculiar original music mixed with Britney Spears and Pet Shop Boys is neither jarring nor defining, but at least notable.
Dolan is arguably at his best when employing restraint and delivering raw emotion. However, this attempt is a little lifeless and unambitious; it lacks focus and originality. The relationship between Max and his mother (played by Anne Dorval) is stronger than the core focus of the storyline and will remind Dolan fans of a much stronger film from his earlier project, Mommy.
Matthias & Maxime is released digitally on demand on 28th August 2020.
Watch the trailer for Matthias & Maxime here: