All-rounder Louis Garrel has once again showcased his talent in both acting and directing with his latest film The Innocent. The French star, who takes roles both in front of and behind the camera, charms audiences with this comedy-drama.
Abel (Garrel) and his mother Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg) have a tender, yet complex relationship. In the prudent way he looks out for her, he feels more like “her brother and her father”, as he puts it, than her son. Through an acting workshop, which she conducts with prisoners, the 60-something-year-old woman meets and falls in love with Michel (Roschdy Zem), who is close to completing his five-year sentence for armed robbery. Their wedding, and Michel’s ensuing release, put Abel on high alert.
Though Abel is the focus of the film’s emotional trajectory, Garrel is a pleasantly unobtrusive protagonist who often acts as a sounding board for his fellow cast members’ performances. Zem, Grinberg and Noémie Merlant (who plays Abel’s extroverted friend and constantly tries to get him to take more risks in his life) flourish throughout the feature’s many turnarounds.
This French production attends to a broad spectrum of human feelings, as it fluctuates between comedy, thriller, heist movie, romance and family drama. It jovially experiments with stylistic devices: a tense scene employs a split screen to show parallel occurring events and Abel’s reaction. The Innocent is equal parts an homage to the great European cinema of the past, and a novel and innovative viewing experience that raises hopes for its future.
The Innocent is released in UK cinemas on 25th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Innocent here: