Pacifiction

Pacifiction ★★★★★

A slow-motion tropical noir -- suffused with a languorous, dream-like and sinister energy. Benoit Magimel cuts a memorable figure as De Roller, a French dignitary in an ice cream suit and the personification of the very concept of "banal evil." But to what extent is he a monster and to what extent is he a pitiable, ZAMA-like bureaucrat? Working with the relatively cheap Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera, director Albert Serra and cinematographer Artur Tort do wonders with the Tahitian light: visually, the entire movie is a journey to the end of night -- progressing from light to dark and from orange/pink to blue ("The gradations of blue!" as De Roller memorably says while looking at the ocean from an airplane window) -- one that provocatively ends on a note of extreme subjective ambiguity (the ending that people gave TAR credit for but which that film didn't really earn). This would make a hell of a double feature with Chantal Akerman's ALMAYER'S FOLLY. I'll be surprised if I see a better movie in 2023.

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