Digging Julie Delpy

Yes, for my Sunday evening viewing, I caught a couple of DVDs featuring the delightful Ms D.

The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2006)

This is pretty much your bog standard small town horror story, allegedly based on a true story, a claim for which I could find no evidence. The Cooley family move to a New England town where husband Guy (Justin Theroux) is to work on a wind farm project, but local support for the development isn’t quite as unanimous as he has been led to believe. The town is the sort of place families have lived for generations and everybody is related. The farm where the Cooleys live used to belong to the Keyes family and two hundred and fifty years ago daughter Lucy disappeared in the woods and was never seen again, and legend has it that the spirit of her mother still searches for the missing child, which is why some of the locals don’t want the area disturbed. And then Jeanne Cooley (Delpy) starts to hear the mother crying out in the night, which could simply be her imagination as she lost a daughter in a tragic accident and is emotionally vulnerable, but the fact that one of her other daughters is called Lucy doesn’t help. With proof that the ghost is indeed real and after present day Lucy, while the Cooleys’ neighbour is extremely hostile and Guy’s employer has an agenda of her own, the scene is set for a climactic ending.

It was an okay movie, a painless way to pass an hour or so, but really nothing more substantial than that. Delpy brought some pathos to her role as the suffering Jeanne, and the two daughters were cute, but most of the cast seemed to be on auto-pilot. The special effects came from the bargain basement, with a ghostly woman with streaming hair floating in the air as lights flashed, though I did rather like the display of bloody pig heads shown at one stage (probably left over from the movie shot on the set previously). Other than that it was pretty standard fare, the curse working itself out in the present day, with financial shenanigans at back of it all (the film’s big plot hole – why keep a document that could prove you’re a swindler instead of simply destroying it?), the usual up the tension jump moments and a predictable storyline in which, after the appropriate alarums and excursions, a mother’s love conquers all.

Killing Zoe (1993)

From the director of Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino according to the blurb on the DVD case, but not the case as QT is only the producer, with Roger Avary in the director chair. Eric Stoltz is safe cracker Zed, arriving in Paris for a job and sending out for hooker Zoe (Delpy), as you do. The two of them hit it off – he’s the only one to ever give her an orgasm – and she reveals that she is really a student and also has a day job, but before this entente cordiale gets any more cordial gang leader Eric shows up and throws Zoe out. Zed is dragged off for an evening of bonding with the other gang members, taking in drink, drugs and jazz clubs. The next day they roll up at the only bank in Paris that is open on Bastille Day, but things go from bad to worse when an alarm goes off and the police show up. Eric starts to kill hostages, which is something Zed had not anticipated happening, and when it turns out that Zoe works at the bank as a teller it’s time for thieves to fall out.

This is a movie of three parts. I liked the first part, with the characters of Zed and Zoe established and their post-coital bonhomie. I could understand why they were attracted to each other, and thumbs down for him for not standing up for her when Eric arrives. The second part is a long drawn out series of snapshots, involving jazz, drunks and druggies, none of which are things/people who appeal to me – being drunk is okay, but little fun to watch in others. I found myself disliking the characters, irritated by the competing conversations and the dark shots. About the only real purpose this section served was to show that the gang were idiots and leader Eric a complete nutter. And his nuttiness comes to fruition in the third part, with the bank raid and copious wet work, the whole enterprise picking up pace and, yes, almost Tarantinoesque in its level of violence and over the top machismo. It redeemed things, demonstrating the truth of Chandler’s adage about having a man come through the door with a gun in his hand and showing it’s even more apposite when there are several men with automatic weapons. On balance I enjoyed the film more than not. It’s just that I could have done without the sleep inducing middle section.

Off the top of my head, the only other film I can ever recall seeing Delpy in was An American Werewolf in Paris, and I don’t remember that being very good.

Anyone else?

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10 Responses to Digging Julie Delpy

  1. She stars in the “Before” movies Richard Linklater directs every 10 years or so, Pete. Before Sunset (1995), Before Sunrise (2004) and a new one, Before Midnight (2013). In the first one, she and Ethan Hawke meet by chance on a train and spend the entire evening together in Vienna, getting to know each other, parting at dawn to go back to their separate lives. Ten years later, in Sunrise, Hawke looks her up again. They’re actually both excellent films (haven’t seen the third one yet), funny, moving. She does a great job. Thanks for reminding me of them.

    • petertennant says:

      Just checked those out on imdb Rob. Look quite interesting, and I like the idea of an ‘occasional’ trilogy. I’ll look for them next time I’m in the cheap DVD shop.

  2. I think you’ll enjoy them, Pete. I realize now though that I got the order wrong (I blame lack of coffee, and a distracting cat.) The first one in the sequence is Before Sunrise (1995) followed by Before Sunset (2004.) 🙂

  3. Ray Cluley says:

    I loved those films. I watched the second one first by accident but thought it worked really well that way. I’d say better, actually, but that’s impossible to tell now. Looking forward to (and also dreading) the third…

  4. They really are well made, and I cared more about those two characters than I have a lot of others. Agreed: Looking forward to (and dreading) the third…

  5. petertennant says:

    Lowering the tone somewhat – I watched the first two “PotC” films over the weekend, and rather enjoyed them, and then first thing this morning ordered “PotC: At the End of the World”, which I’m now having second thoughts about, as I remember it from the cinema being one of those films which fits into the ‘wake me up when it’s over’ category. In music they talk of ‘the difficult third album’, and perhaps there’s something similar with films.

    • Ray Cluley says:

      One of the few films that has caused me to leave the cinema early. I forget which of the sequels it was, actually, may have even been the second one. Shame, the first was really good fun.

  6. I remember some critics who referred to Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End as Pirates of the Carribean: At Wit’s End. 🙂

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