Only the Animals – slippery, satisfying French-African mystery | Film

This slippery tease of a movie opens with a shot of a man weaving through the traffic on a bike in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with a goat slung around his shoulders like a stole. Then we’re whirled from west Africa to snowy central France, and a rural wilderness where a woman has disappeared, her car abandoned by the side of an ice-crusted road. Unpeeling the story of how a mystery in France is connected to a teeming city in Africa, director Dominik Moll and his co-writer Gilles Marchand employ Rashomon-style multiple perspectives. The story is repeatedly rewound, explored from the viewpoint of an unfaithful wife, her oddball farmer lover, her glowering husband, the missing woman’s lover and an enterprising young man in Abidjan.

This is film-making that really tests the elasticity of its story strands, but it largely manages to keep the audience from teetering into disbelief. For the most part, that’s thanks to persuasively solid characters and casting. Denis Ménochet, French cinema’s go-to guy for stewing, inarticulate surliness, is characteristically excellent, an anchor of credibility who grounds the picture. But the discovery here is newcomer Guy Roger “Bibisse” N’Drin, playing the impoverished young African whose quest for wealth is the final piece of a satisfying jigsaw plot.

Watch a trailer for Only the Animals

Source: The Guardian

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *