In Joann Sfar’s triply thriller, Dany (an insecure secretary played by Freya Mavor) decides to throw caution to the wind soon after her boss (Benjamin Biolay) and his wife (Nymphomaniac’s Stacy Martin) arrive at an airport.
The meek minx is asked to return her superior’s car, but instead, Dany borrows the vehicle for a couple of days and explores a small town – all on a whim. However, life takes a turn for the strange when the locals recognize Dany even though she claims she hasn’t visited before. She’s labeled as a liar, but that doesn’t stop men from ogling her and making peculiar conversation. She finds safety and lust with a hunky drifter (Elio Germano), but still finds him to be unpredictable and a little frightening.
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun is voyeuristic. This concept is taken quite literally as the audience peeps at Dany almost always while she’s scantily clad. Then again, the story (written by Patrick Godeau and Gilles Marchand adapted from Sébastien Japrisot’s novel) is equally as curious. Dany, unhappy with her homely demeanour, aspires for a confident personality. Mavor dives into the role with guts and flourishes through scenes where her character embraces a new self.
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun, along with having a mouthful of a title, often chases its tail. Dany is constantly running into discrepancies (some of which feel superfluous), and the ongoing lingering by onlooking beefcakes is ceaseless to a point of harlequin romance silliness. However, the casual split-screen presentation is inspired and keeps the narrative flowing. There’s also no denying that the film is quite seductive. Go figure: it’s the primary reaction Joann Sfar is trying to achieve.
It’s hard not to smirk at some of the crossfades and music stings, but it accumulates towards the film’s provocative nature. The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun is the kind of soap opera that’s worth watching.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie