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3.7 out of 5 stars43
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 February 2012
Whatever this film is, it is not a confused mess. It is very skillfully made and needs to be watched carefully to get the best out of it (like the Sixth Sense). It is a very clever film, in the same way that Sleuth or Dangerous Liaisons are clever films. The film is about the power and impotence of desire, but is ultimately an artifice, a clever construction for its own sake. I say this because the shifts in passions of the main character are unlikely and ill motivated. The film is logically quite satisfying, like a puzzle, but fails to be psychologically convincing. A good film then, but not a great one.
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One of the most compelling thrillers I've seen in a long time. Now fifteen years old, I do not believe this film has dated by a single second. It is also a love story, full of emotional tension and confusion. A visit to a jeweler provides a metaphor of three rings, leading to an ever-tightening mystery. Who is trying to outwit whom?

The relentless pace is fuelled by subtly sneaky action and the alternating distractions of Monica Bellucci, Romane Bohringer and Sandrine Kimberlain. Bewildered, triply love-struck Max (Vincent Cassel) has only the slenderest chance of piecing together the clues while untangling his emotions.

The plot twists and turns with break-neck speed, pirouetting around each of the female leads. Filled with delicious tension, this is a real treat which demands repeated viewing. Do not miss it!
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on 19 June 2007
Don't be put off by previous reviews that the movie is sleep inducing - the guy probably was tired or bored with life. This is a beautiful, sweeping movie about coincidences in life (a bit like in Sliding Doors) and how they affect people's lives. It's about love, passion, jealousy and set in Paris - beautifully acted by Bellucci and Bohringer (it helps if you speak French so you understand their acting better) with a beautiful haunting soundtrack. Although it's not always easy to follow, it's actually good that some films make you use your brain. For those who haven't got one, just go back to sleep.
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L'Appartement became an instant favorite when I saw it a few years ago, although on revisiting it I did find myself wondering for a while if I hadn't over-valued it. But then, a third into the picture it takes a sudden left turn and what had been a relatively simple romantic drama about lost love suddenly became a much more complex piece of work touching on the nature of desire and the way accidents of timing and interpretation can change fate.

What's most fun - or most frustrating, depending on how you like your narrative delivered - is the way it doubles back on itself, revealing that the passing details in one person's life can be major ones in another's, even revealing that for the first third of the movie both we and the main character haven't noticed the presence of one key character. Rewarding and exhilarating stuff.

Artificial Eye's UK DVD only boasts the French trailer and text notes as extras, but offers a good transfer with proper subtitling (the subtitles on the US disc are hard-of-hearing subtitles including descriptions of sound effects!).
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on 20 July 2006
One of the best movies I've ever seen. It's perfect. Imaginative, innovative, beautiful, beautifully acted, beautifully shot. It's complex and haunting and sensual and wonderfully clever. You will not see a film like this come out of Hollywood. Shamelessly European, shamelessly romantic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 December 2011
Gilles Mimouni's 1995 film L'Appartement mysteriously remains his only feature directing credit to date, which is surprising given the quality of this Hitchcockian mystery drama.

L'Appartement has one of the most intricate plots of any film I've seen, full of repeated flashbacks and apparently unexplained plot twists, thereby warranting repeat viewings. Vincent Cassel stars as Max, Parisian amateur writer with big ambitions, who becomes obsessed with Lisa (Monica Bellucci), before leaving for a job in New York. Two years later, Max has returned to Paris intent on marrying new girlfriend Muriel, only to catch a fleeting glimpse of his lost love Lisa, thereby setting in train a series of mistaken identity encounters involving Lisa's best friend Alice (Romane Bohringer), who happens to be the girlfriend of Max's best friend Lucien (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey). Still following?

Mimouni's film moves at a frantic pace, cutting between past and present at will, and using the Parisian urban landscape to great effect. The cast is uniformly strong. Along with La Haine, this is the best performance I've seen from Cassel, but, for me, the standout performance is that of Romane Bohringer, who conveys both great vulnerability and sharp deception simultaneously as Alice. Sadly, in the 15 years since L'Appartement Bohringer does not appear (as far as I can see) to have made any films that have been subject to release outside France.

The film also provides a great exercise in 'spot the film homages'. Whether or not they are all deliberate, I spotted: Monica Bellucci's entrance into the shoe shop to a Hermann-esque score (Vertigo), Alice looking at Lisa in her appartment (Rear Window), Max reaching down through a drainage grill to reach keys (Strangers on a Train), a broken compact mirror providing a key plot revelation (Wilder's The Appartment), a focus on red shoes (The Red Shoes - maybe this one is stretching it slightly), and in general the film visually resembled Polanski's The Tenant at various points.

A somewhat derivative film, therefore, but with its fast-moving complex plot well worth a view (or two).
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on 5 February 2011
Of all the foreign films I have seen this has to be one of the best. I'm aware that Hollywood have remade this film but I can't imagine it could possibly live up to this.
It is hard to place it in a specific genre it has a mixture of romance, drama, mystery and thriller.
If you don't speak French you must keep up with the subtitles otherwise you could miss something therefore keeping you engaged throughout.
It tells a story about lost love and how one man's quest to find it again is littered with obstacles and constant twists of fate.
There are quite a lot of flashbacks which draw you in as it shows how the simplest actions and decisions change the lives of each character and in essence it is the simplicity of these which make the outcome so tragic. It is this emotional suspense which keeps you hooked right until the end.
I have seen several of Vincent Cassel's and Monica Bellucci's films and this along with Irreversible shows them at their very best.
Vincent proves what a great actor he is by doing something very different from most of his other roles. I feel he is excellent at whatever he attempts and found his character very compelling and somewhat adorable. He is also rather handsome and quite sexy in his own way.
Monica well what can you say aside from being possibly the most beautiful woman to ever grace the screen she also proves what a wonderful actress she is and you are completely drawn to her in every scene she is in.
The fact that this is the film where the couple met and fell in love only adds to the story being told and you can see it in every scene their in together. I think its quite magical that this film which looks at coincidences and twists of fate and how they affect people's lives is the film which brought Vincent and Monica together I think that's fate working right there!
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on 9 February 2007
European cinema at it's very best. A wonderful antidote to the tedious, predictable banality Hollywood insists on churning out.

Fantastic (if a little fantastical) plot, 4 great lead actors, and a real life love affair in the background. This was the film where Cassel and Belucci met and fell in love - you can see it in every scene they share and somehow that fact adds to the highs and the lows and the overall hopelessness of the situation all these characters find themselves in.

Nothing is ever what it seems, and the film warrants at least second or third viewing. I'm sad enough to have watched it 20+ times since stumbling upon it on Channel 4 a few years ago.

Beautifully shot, with Paris as a great supporting actor, everyone I know who has watched this film has ended up buying it.

I'm the first to admit it's not for everyone, but if you like Hitchcock and classy French romance, you can't go wrong.

One word of warning - don't go near the horrendously crass Hollywood remake 'Whicker Park'.
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on 23 May 2007
French film-making that assumes you're watching and thinking not just stuffing popcorn! Involved plot with rapid twists. Your viewpoint changes and you need to be alert to follow, but if you are, this stylish movie carries you on a great roller coaster. Very watchable. Enjoy it.
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on 21 December 2009
You do not need to be French to appreciate this beautiful film which will keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense. You will witness a wonderful performance by Vincent Cassel, long before his mesmerising, commanding and Oscar winning performance in Mesrine.

The plot focuses around Max (Cassel), who misses his business trip to Tokyo and embarks on a search for his ex girlfriend Lisa, played by his real life wife Moinca Bellucci, after over hearing a conversation and assuming that it was Lisa. From then on the scene is set, while Max goes in search for Lisa, will he find her or not?

A wonderful film, with great performances from all the actors involved. So if you are tired of all the crap coming from America, then you deserve to watch this heart-warming film.
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