I am so thankful the fine folks at Artsploitation Films have high standards of quality for their films. They are one of the few film companies that seem to continually release good movies on a regular basis. Such is the case with today’s title, FEVER. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, but I’m happy to report the film delivers on several levels. It is a taut, effective thriller, but it’s also a gripping mystery as well. In short, FEVER is a nice piece of French cinema.
If you are not familiar with FEVER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
High school students Damien and Pierre are from wealthy families with nothing seemingly in their lives to leave them disturbed. Yet they plan and carry out the murder of an unknown woman they have previously only spotted on the street. The police are at a loss, confused by this murder without motive. Zoé, an optician in the neighborhood, who is feeling more and more moved by this inexplicable murder, bumps into the teenage murderers by chance. But this chance fleeting encounter reveals inside her a growing and mysterious desire. Although scared (she could easily be a victim of Damien and Pierre), her erotic attraction for the duo goes beyond that. It gives her a chance to find a way out of the loveless rut that her life has ended up in. While Damien and Pierre, thinking no one will catch them, embark on a journey deep within their pasts. Inspired from a real life story of mindless and seemingly meaningless crime, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and from the scandalous Leopold and Loeb case from the 1920s, this thoughtful psychological thriller will enthrall viewers.
This movie is based (partially) on real events, although I’m not sure what liberties the filmmakers took with the source material. As such, knowing this heightens the tension within the plotline for me and makes it an even scarier film.
FEVER is shot well and looks good from a cinematography perspective. The camerawork is less artistic and more story-driven, which works great for a film such as this. The locales are all urban, and nothing stands out in that area, but they do not distract either. Overall, the film appears to have a decent budget and production value.
The acting is impressive, with both Martin Loizillon and Pierre Moure portraying the two main characters. Both do a great job with their roles, and I expect to see more of them onscreen in the future. Likewise, actress Julie-Marie Parmentier shines as Zoe. The whole cast meshes well, which lends more credibility to the script.
The storyline in FEVER is where the film truly comes into its own. It is filled with tension and carries with it a disturbing air, as the two main characters seem to show no remorse for what they’ve done. Even more unsettling is the fact that the act seems to have stemmed from a concept they were required to write an essay about in school: liberty. As the explanation for their atrocity unfolds, the viewer is left with a chilling sense of dread; this could have happened to anybody at anytime, anywhere in the world.
If I were forced to find a negative about the film, I would have to mention the lack of clarification on a few points. Several writers and their works are mentioned and even discussed in the film, but we are not given explanations as to why. I am assuming it is to build a dramatic ambiance, however I’m not sure. This is not enough to detract heavily from the film, but I do feel it worth mentioning.
FEVER is still a great film, however, and I recommend giving it a look. The DVD does not contain an English dub-over track, so be prepared to read subtitles…but doing so is no problem for this reviewer. I enjoyed the film, and I look forward to seeing what Artsploitation has in line for us next time.