In the Shadow of Iris (2016) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but definitely R for sexuality, nudity, some violence, and language
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, Jalil Lespert, Camille Cottin, Adel Bencherif
Director: Jalil Lespert
Screenplay: Jeremie Guez, Jalil Lespert, Andrew Bovell
Review published May 26, 2017
Yves Saint Laurent's Jalil Lespert directs and co-stars in this glossy French thriller that will likely only please audiences who've rarely seen these kinds of films before. Otherwise, it's one of those mysteries that falls further apart the more it is explained, resulting in a hangover of illogical developments that will likely have many wondering why they bothered embarking on a teaser premise that delivers such paltry returns. Fans of Andrew Bovell, who was the screenwriter for such well-regarded films as Lantana and A Most Wanted Man, will be disappointed by this French translation of the loose adaptation he wrote of the 2000 Japanese thriller from Hideo Nakata, Chaos.
Set in Paris, Lespert plays wealthy banking executive Antoine Doriot, who is panicked when his gorgeous wife, Iris (Le Bon, The Walk) gets kidnapped. The abductor is Max (Duris, The New Girlfriend), a car mechanic in desperate need of funds, offering to release Iris for the sum of a half-million Euros. Doriot asks for assistance from the police, who are intent on monitoring his every move while he seeks to pay off the kidnapper, but things go awry in the exchange, causing chaos for all involved as far as what to do next.
In the Shadow of Iris, also known originally as Iris, is a good looking film, at the very least, with attractive and talented actors, and very sleek cinematography. The plotline is familiar, but still draws you in, at least until it tries to throw in a few plot curveballs that will have you at a loss as to how anyone thought they might pass muster as remotely credible.
What's worse, once you're still reeling from the holes in the plot, the rest plays out fairly predictably, resulting in a sharp decline in entertainment value as Iris enters its third act, though some might be entertained merely by the lurid turns taken within the story, and the subsequent eye candy on display. Nevertheless, it's hard to recommend Iris as a steamy noirish thriller when the plot runs out of steam long before.
©2017 Vince Leo