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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Souriré!.......don't you understand what I just said......Smile!, 25 Nov. 2007
This review is from: I Stand Alone [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have watched this film some time ago but because it's been brought back up within my friendly pack I've managed to view it again while enclosing you to read this today. I have also seen Noe's Irreversible and thought it was quite disturbing but compare to this its sort of tame.

"I Stand Alone" was the debut feature film from French filmmaker Gaspar Noé. Noé rose to cult status in 2002 with his controversial film Irréversible which, in some circles, caused quite a stir. But "I Stand Alone" is a different film entirely. It is set in France circa 1980, and tells the story of The Butcher (Philippe Nahon). Forced into retirement due to bankruptcy, he finds himself locked into a marriage with his nagging pregnant wife (Frankie Pain) and a hateful mother-in-law (Martine Audrain). Having moved from Paris hoping for a new life, he finds himself at the very bottom of the barrel living in a cramped apartment and taunted by the women every moment of the day. Then one day when confronted by his wife for cheating he snaps. This man is ANGRY! and we are made aware of it in part by occasional acts of violence, but mostly by a continual stream-of-consciousness narration in which all his bile is directed in scatter-gun fashion at the world in general. It is difficult to tell how much this character is emblematic of Noe's own beliefs; one hopes he isn't.

Realizing what he's done the Butcher abandons them and returns to Paris. Poised on the edge, seething with bitterness and hatred for a world he must endure, he continues on looking for money, work and a place to stay. No one will help, not even his friends. After a barroom confrontation that leaves him filled with rage and filled with a resentment of his own life, he resorts to the one thing that makes him happy, this leads to what is quite possibly one of the most disturbing endings.

I usually don't like to compare films; I like to think that each piece can stand on its own and has its own merits. But there are many films today that borrow or pay homage to classics. "I Stand Alone" is one of those films that clearly borrow from films such as Taxi Driver. You can see the trademarks in the Butcher from the Travis Bickle character in Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector's Edition), the loner who's ready to explode from living in an unforgiving world that simmers with bitterness and hate. There is an unavoidable depth of decay and deprivation portrayed in the character that remains stagnant throughout the film. Unlike Taxi Driver the Butcher's depression doesn't transcend to nihilism, it builds and builds as the narration reaches an unconscionable crescendo. The Butcher reaches a point where all is lost except one ray of light, the proverbial silver lining, which is .......Sorry that's all I can say but recommended to you if your curios.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Feb 2012 12:21:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2012 12:35:49 GMT
D. Crudden says:
IF YOU'RE CURIOUS,THAT IS.Also,Pain is the butcher's fiancee;his wife is dead.P.S.The imperative of SOURIRE is SOURIEZ;if one has not studied a language,one shouldn't dabble.The only funny scene in this grim but interesting near-monologue movie is the brute's refusal/incapacity to smile to order for prospective customers,prompting his dismissal-'DEGAGE!'
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