Inexorable : ‘TIFF’ Review – Stoker Meets Misery In This French Thriller
There’s a lot of animosity towards all the remakes, sequels, reboots, and prequels that are being churned out by every entertainment industry on this planet, with people asking for more original stories. One of the many reasons why that won’t happen is because those very people rarely reward original stories with their money. But more importantly, it’s because most original stories have already been told and they have a strong presence in literature and pop-culture history. Hence, we are left with remixes and retreads of familiar grounds. Is that a bad thing? When it’s in the wrong hands, yes. However, when it’s handled by someone who has a voice of their own and isn’t afraid to present it in an unapologetic fashion, then it’s great. And Inexorable, which screened at TIFF 2021, is proof of that.
Inexorable is directed by Fabrice Du Welz. It is written by Welz, Aurélien Molas, and Joséphine Darcy-Hopkins. The cinematography is by Manu Dacosse, editing by Anne-Laure Guega, production design by Emmanuel De Meuelemeester, sound design by Ludovic Van Pachterbeke, Julie Brenta, and Emmanuel de Boissieu, and music composition by Vincent Cahay. It stars Benoît Poelvoorde as Marcel Bellmer, Mélanie Doutey as Jeanne (Marcel’s wife), Janaina Halloy as Lucie (Marcel and Jeanne’s daughter), and Alba Gaïa Bellugi as Gloria.
Related to Inexorable – Frances Ha  Review: Revisiting an Old School Tale of ‘Modern Love’
The story follows Marcel and his family as they move into a colossal old country manor, in the hopes that it will help Marcel overcome his writer’s block. But that is sidetracked with the arrival of Gloria, who is apparently a fan of Marcel’s work and has quite a dark past. And to be honest, that is all I want to spill about the plot since I want you to experience the kind of shock that I got from the twist(s).
Alright, I will hint at it a little bit. Going back to the point I was making earlier, we’ve all watched movies about home invasion under the garb of adoption like Stoker, Orphan, The Omen, The Babysitter, and Better Watch Out. We have all watched movies about obsessive fans like Misery, The Fan, Fan, The Incredibles, The King of Comedy, and Ingrid Goes West. And last but not the least, we have watched movies that use a pastel color palette to subvert some of the gruesome aspects that are on display, e.g. Edward Scissorhands, Heavenly Creatures, Spring Breakers, Catch Me If You Can, Midsommar, and Don’t Leave Home. So, you know what is going to go wrong, what is the commentary supposed to be on, and how we are being distracted by the pretty visuals.
Truth be told, even the movie knows that you know. Hence, it doesn’t dwell too much on that and instead focuses on the questions: how wrong are things going to go, how violently will that change the commentary, and will the pretty visuals accentuate the twist or dullen its effect?
But before getting to that part of the narrative, Inexorable puts Marcel and everyone around him under the microscope. It generates dread with the help of its pulsating score. And it hypnotizes us with its cross dissolves between the mansion’s staircase (that eerily looks like an eye) and the characters, as a reminder of their devolution and the fact that at the end of the day, the mansion will be the only witness of this gut-wrenching episode. It also says that one cannot run away from their past and that it’ll come to haunt them one day or the other.
Which is probably the only optimistic aspect of the movie. Because in real life, richness comes with a weird kind of privilege that allows people to not just avoid their past, but also to alter it to such an extent that no one remembers what they should be held accountable for. For example, there’s a certain soccer player with a rape allegation on his head who is being welcomed home in such a way that one will think that he has invented the cure for cancer or solved world hunger.
But I digress.
The performances from Poelvoorde, Doutey, Halloy, and Bellugi are some of the best I have seen this year. I kid you not when I say that I started to search for the line between real and reel halfway through the movie. Because the dedication of these actors to their respective scenes is that intense. With that said, since I think Halloy will very intentionally go unnoticed for the first two acts, please brace yourself for her third act birthday dance. I was petrified. It genuinely feels like it comes out of nowhere, although there are lines here and there that hint at what she’s going to do. Additionally, when you look at her character arc, it will make total sense. Yet, I have a feeling that your jaw is going to be on the floor. And the process will only be aggravated once you begin to wonder what Lucie’s going to turn out to be due to the traumatic event and her proximity to Gloria (FYI, she does a Kubrick stare). Hence, the Stoker parallels.
That’s all I have to say about Inexorable. Well, no, I have a lot to say about Inexorable. But this is all I should say about Inexorable because anything more than this will certainly ruin the viewing experience. And I don’t want that to happen. I think I have mentioned enough movie references in here to paint a picture about what is in store. If you haven’t watched any of them, then just trust me and watch this movie. You won’t regret it. It has all the makings of starting some fiery discourses around its discomforting plot twists and commentary on nepotism, privilege, marital longevity, and the myth of the literary genius, as well as sweeping a bunch of awards for acing it in every department.