Titane

Titane

This is an insanely difficult film to review. I knew it was going to be a divisive one as soon as two couples walked out after merely 15 mins (the 'murder by hairpin' part was obviously too much for them). Titane was a divisive film and a very memorable one at that. I was swept away by the daring use of black humor and by the audacity to centralize Alexia's character and make us root for her, even though she was clearly a psychopath. And this is where I'm troubled.

The tone, the black humor, the explicit sexuality, the seemingly haphazard structure... all clicked with me. But. I can't overlook the fact that Titane has an inherently wrong ideology: that psychopaths can change, that they can feel empathy, and that they can be humanized.

The film has an intriguing structure. It feels shaky but in truth knows where it's headed, lending it an exciting narrative dynamic. The actual main character (the father) only appears halfway in, and it is only revealed at the very end that the movie is actually about him and not about Alexia. The girl turns out to be the mere conduit through which Vincent is able to deal with his grief; her sacrifice is his salvation.

Viewed through this lens, the emotional arc is fulfilled and through a clever switch from black humor to a heart-wrenching manifestation of overcoming grief. If I can look past Alexia's character and see the movie as Vincent's emotional salvation, it is one of the most genuine films. But if I think about the fact that the film tried to humanize a psychopath (the 'I love you' scene was NOT believable), it suddenly becomes a pretentious, wannabe art movie. I honestly don't know what to think. I loved everything about it, except this one crucial core thesis. Can that, should that make me re-evaluate my immense enjoyment of all the other aspects? Dilemmas.

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