Titane ★★★½

An undeniably ambitious, visually striking, and slightly silly mashup of serial killer thriller, pregnancy body horror, and found family character drama. Titane is clearly shepherded by a unique vision, carried by an absolutely tremendous, visceral performance by Agathe Rousselle. Each component of the aforementioned genre mashup has its fair share of brilliance, and the film certainly has something to say even if it sometimes feels a bit confused about how best to say it. The tonal shifts and fluid identity of the story are part of the intent, but they also often prevent the film from leaning into its strengths and the momentum it builds. We start with an intriguing blend of moody thriller and body horror, but it doesn't go far enough with either (especially the latter) because the story moves in a completely different direction by the second half. However, it still wants to juggle everything at once, and when it brings the body horror back in spurts, it feels a little too much like a distraction rather than a steady, fucked up descent into even more fucked up territories. It's a very different film than Raw, but that film's strengths - most notably a laser storytelling focus and a clearer and tighter central metaphor - are this one's weaknesses.

Nevertheless, this is still a film that swings for the fences, and I'd much rather have that than something that doesn't try. It has an intoxicating and propulsive energy to it. It is never not compulsively watchable, and it never fails at making you feel something. Julia Ducournau is one of the most exciting voices in film right now, but she set the bar high with Raw. I look forward to seeing her top it someday.


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