Actors: Mathieu Amalric, Serge Bozon, Laurent Poitrenaux
Director: Mathieu Amalric
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2015
Run Time: 75 minutes
There is little to The Blue Room, at least in terms of plot, which is probably why the film is a concise 75-minute length. Based on the novel by Georges Simenon, I can’t imagine what the approach he used to make this material work as a novel, especially since I am left remembering the images of Mathieu Amalric’s adaptation. These striking shots matched by the non-linear storytelling make The Blue Room far more compelling than I would have expected from the material. I suppose this a testament to the fact that Amalric is as talented a director as he is an actor, perhaps even better with the right project.
Amalric also stars in the film as Julien, a middle-aged salesman and family man having an affair with Delphine (Stéphanie Cléau), the wife of a local pharmacist. During one of their getaways together, Delphine makes some devious remarks. Suddenly we are jumping forward in time, to the point where Julien is being investigated and prosecuted for the murder of Delphine’s husband. The narrative jumps back and forth like this for much of the film, delaying its payoff far longer than last year’s Gone Girl. Admittedly, the payoffs in The Blue Room are far less dramatic or impactful, and the final resolution may leave some unclear of the actual truth.
Because of the simplicity of the film, it takes this non-linear approach to keep suspense through the running time. This is also one of those situations where a stylized approach enhances the overall experience. The score from Grégoire Hetzel and the film’s full frame aspect ratio (1.33:1) call back to classic Alfred Hitchcock films, such as Vertigo and Rear Window (as well as others not starring Jimmy Stewart), though the voyeuristic elements are far more explicit in The Blue Room.
The DVD release includes only the trailer for special features.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6.5/10