Posted by martinteller on April 27, 2006
[WARNING: spoilers!] I don’t know how to discuss this movie without spoiling it, so read no further if you intend to see it. Okay? Okay.
At first I really, really liked it. I liked how it worked as an allegory of France/Algeria (a situation I don’t know a hell of a lot about, but I know enough to recognize the allegory) and how it worked on just the personal level of a man coping with guilt and conscience. The characters make the kind of bad decisions that it hurts, physically hurts you to watch, because you want them to do the right thing. So then the ending comes up. I watched that scene very carefully, looking for clues or familiar characters. I didn’t see any, drew my own conclusions (i.e., the school represents what Majid never had a chance at) and was satisfied that the mystery was left ambiguous. I thought of it as the act of a higher power, forcing Georges (and by allegory, France) to face his past. Then I went to iMDB to read some comments. Oh shit. I did miss something in that final scene. I watched again, and… my heart sank a little. If the implication is that the tapes were made by Majid’s son (with or without the help of Pierrot), then not only is that a little hard to swallow, but I think it robs the movie of some of its mysterious energy. Now it’s a whodunit with a “Where’s Waldo?” solution. And when you think about it, it also implicates Majid’s son in his own father’s suicide. It doesn’t change the fact that the previous 110-ish minutes were powerful and gripping, but it’s kind of like going out with a whimper. Rating: 7