So I just finished watching Denis Villeneuve’s 2010 film Incendies…
Incendies tells the story of Jeanne and Simon, who’s mother has recently passed away. Her mom’s boss has been named executor of the will, and in the will, Jeanne and Simon’s mom, named Nawal, as her dying wish, asks her children to deliver a pair of letters. One to their father, who has long been thought dead, and another to an unknown other sibling. While Simon declines, Jeanne travels to the middle east and while she tracks down her dad and brother, we flash back to Nawal’s past, and eventually, the horrific truth is eventually revealed.
Villeneuve starts this decade off with a bang. A very stark and interesting look at family secrets and the violence in the middle east.
Good script, great characters and performances, good cinematography and editing, great soundtrack and score (while sparse, the strings and the use of Radiohead’s music added alot of power to some of the scenes), interesting discussion of issues, etc.
The writing here I think is what truly steals the show. Denis Villeneuve doesn’t do anything grand or flashy with this movie. It’s a very simple story executed in a very simple and reserved way. At least from a technical standpoint. But this story is so intelligently executed. The characters are so richly developed, and that plot twist was a stroke of genius. Shocking and unexpected.
Overall, this is good god damn movie. Not the most technically astounding thing ever, but a very earnest and thought provoking film. Recommended.
8 out of 10 (I wasn’t quite feeling an 8.5 on it to be honest)