Watched Jul 03, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
It has been eight years since Pawel Pawlikowski's last film (the excellent and underrated, My Summer of Love) so I was looking forward to see how his return would fare. In truth, The Woman in the Fifth is a mixed bag, whilst it has strong performances from the entire cast and creates an intriguing air of melancholic dread it is also far too ponderous (despite its brief runtime) and never quite delivers the climax it deserves or needs.
American novelist (Ethan Hawke) travels to Paris to reconnect with his estranged wife and daughter. Through a series of unfortunate events he has his belongings stolen, ends up working for his shady landlord and begins affairs with two very different women. Yet this is not a traditional thriller, the pacing is languid and it is far more interested in internal conflicts than external ones. There is also the hints at supernatural elements, mental illness and creative blocks, but these elements are never quite as intriguing as they should be. Perhaps it is because Hawke’s character is so difficult to warm too. He delivers one of his best performances in recent years and you do feel for his plight but he is a hard character to penetrate which creates a barrier between him and the audience. There is a great story buried here, sadly Pawlikowski never quite finds it.