Olivier Assayas’s new film is a cold sterile character study of the heroin/e Sandra (double entendre intended) as portrayed by a lithe and seemingly drug addled Asia Argento. The acting is intentionally bland and unemotional with monotone dialogue delivered with barely any inflection. We are distanced from the characters allowing the viewer a complete objective perspective. Actions do speak louder than words and the characters often speak and act contrarily.
The story begins with Miles, a struggling businessman, who proclaims his intentions of selling the company despite the protests of his partner. Sandra enters the picture and we soon discover their lurid and secret affair but it seems to be a fling of the past. But all is not what it seems. Sandra is currently involved with another man and we discover, before Sandra does, that she is nothing more than a commodity, a puppet manipulated to perform a violent and life-shattering act. Sandra believes she has control of her life but feels it slipping away and finally doubts that she ever knew what the f**k was really happening. The only choice she truly makes on her own terms is the final one: the choice NOT to act. Our final glimpse of Sandra is her disappearing in a soft focus and rising upwards towards an unknown fate.
Final Grade: (C)