Ville-Marie

Ville-Marie

It starts out with an edge over the kind of overplayed "everything is connected" narratives that made people like Inarritu and Haggis famous by simply starting off with the incident and branching out from there (and God, what a way to kick things off). From there it's a surprisingly involving look at people shielding themselves from emotional connections out of fear, but only two of the four central characters really stand out: Monica Bellucci as a visiting French actress reconnecting with her college-aged son, and Pascale Bussières as a nurse who has similar issues with her own child. The other two stories, one focusing on Bellucci's son trying to find out the identity of his father (Aliocha Schneider, pretty stale performance), and the other on a paramedic driver/former soldier with PTSD (Patrick Hivon, who doesn't make a big impression largely because he gets the narrative short straw), can't even compare to Belluci/Bussières, who also act circles around everyone else.

Bellucci looks like she's ecstatic to have a role this big for her, and at times it feels like the filmmakers are out of her depth around her (there's a sequence where she sings for her son at a bar that has Bellucci giving her all, but it's shot like a poor man's version of Carey Mulligan's musical number in Shame). On the other hand, Bussières is a natural fit (but that shouldn't come as a surprise due to collaborating with the same director on Wetlands). It's just too bad Édoin decides he needs a second incident where everyone crosses paths again, and by doing so makes his film feel like Crash except about depressed people moping around Montreal.