With all the commitment the production can offer, Titane tells a tall tale of an adult entertainer who uses her sexuality and a violent temper to hide her flaws.  Still carrying the near-death trauma she experienced as a kid, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) projects her heated emotions on to new relationships (which sometimes includes her bizarre fetish for metal).

After a wild twist that’s ridiculous but still checks out with the film’s extreme limits, Alexis is on the run while experiencing a major life change.  She forms an off-kilter plan to impersonate a lost teenager to conceal her identity, but the disguise will require a physical transformation and a stone-cold poker face during confrontations with the teen’s father Vincent (Vincent Lindon).

Titane is a strange and ambitious movie with plenty of strengths.  So many strengths, in fact, that Titane often steps on its own toes by packing so much in its story.  The audience often forgets about Alexia’s absurd conundrum until the movie whips out some effective body horror that isn’t for the squeamish.  Titane is one of those rare examples of a modern movie that could’ve afforded to be longer in order to spread itself more evenly.

Nonetheless, writer/director Julia Ducournau (Raw) does a great job defining this loose story as a character study about how strong personalities cope with their own personal trauma.  It also captures how other people can be caught in the crosshairs during this grieving period.  The movie doesn’t excuse behaviour that exploits the vulnerability and sympathy of others, but Ducournau’s commendable effort expands on that flawed logic.  And out of that misunderstanding by Ducournau’s characters forms an evolving relationship that actually helps encourage a healthier way to cope.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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