Demonlover (2002)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Demonlover is a movie by Olivier Assayas, starring Connie Nielsen, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon.

The Wolf Corporation are planning their big entry into the anime porn market. Diane (Connie Nielsen), who works for Wolf, “insinuates” herself with quite hard measures into the negotiations. Together with her colleague Hervé (Charles Berling) she flies to Tokyo to close the deal. But we soon discover that Diane not only works for Wolf, she’s also on the payroll of a competitor. But in the world of corporate espionage, it’s never quite clear who works for whom.

The film starts out fine, but after the first half it slowly spins out of control and into meaninglessness. The film tries to be profound but ultimately confuses the audience too much to achieve much of anything. At least the cinematography and the production design were very nice.

Having seen the film, I’m a bit surprised that it was included in the Science Fiction special. Not because of the film’s quality, but because I kept waiting for it to become Science Fiction. It never did (at least not in my definition). But that’s just a sidenote.

The film itself might not have thrown me as much if it had been weird and nonsensical right from the get-go (as David Lynch movies tend to be: they’re surreal. They know it. They don’t pretend otherwise). Instead Assayas chose to start out like it was a normal corporate espionage story/thriller and suddenly he takes a left turn and we’re in the middle of What-the-Fuck Country, Nonsensistan.

The film looked very good – the cinematography, production design and the lightning worked very well, but the porn components are gratuitous and seem only added to titillate the (male) audience. It didn’t add anything to the story and made you feel even more like the ending was written to see Connie Nielsen in S/M gear.

The cast wasn’t bad. I doubt that Connie Nielsen could play another role, but she was good in this one. Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon were absolute highlights and Charles Berling reminded me so much of a former coworker, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else whenever he came on screen.

The soundtrack by Jim O’Rourke and Sonic Youth was pretty cool.

Summarising: The first hour is very good. Then you can just turn off the film. You won’t miss anything.

2 thoughts on “Demonlover (2002)

  1. Pingback: L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] (2008) « Stuff

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