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Read My Lips (2001) @ Sur Mes Lèvres

At a glance:
Vince Cassel (pic) can't put a foot wrong since La Haine (1995) and doesn't seem to be turnin on his trademark villainous roles anytime soon. As he walks into the first scene with his prison scars and dishevelled hair, all the old movie charm of Parisian disenfranchisement comes crashin in, like waves of twisted energy he so often ebbs. Story follows that deaf social retard finds roguish convalescent ex-con. They meet, they talk and they have every reason to fall in love but never really do. Pretty well contained flick with careful cinematography and an excellent score to boot. Sexiest advantage lies in the reluctant yet real chemistry between its two stars, adversaries and friends in equal measures.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Could get slow for some but take consolation that this is a more universal type of French flick.
Perennial wonderment:
In perhaps 20 odd films I've seen Cassel in (count not the Hollywood by-products like Ocean's Thirteen) this movie is one of the few rare ones in which his female co-star actually matches his talent. As the uncomfortable secretary of a property development firm, Emmanuelle Devos (pic, you might remember her if you've seen The Beat That My Heart Skipped in 2005 who was directed by the same man) is at once urban ugly and yet awkwardly beautiful - the sort of uncomfortable character that drives a mystery-thriller like this to another level of entertainment. She won a Best Actress César for this performance.
Reminds me of:
The 1994 Captives situation where bad boy prisoner Tim Roth romanced nerdy dentist Julia Ormond on the toilet floor. Read My Lips explains why things will never be the same for people who cross paths this way.
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Happy to give four stars for the stark and sometimes sensual. There's dirty love on decadent Parisian streets and escape for the two characters remain a romantic possibility for the entire duration of the film. In Read My Lips, the soundlessness of sex is louder than ever.

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