Review
"Titane" is directed by Julia Ducournau.
  • "Titane" is one of the most talked about movies at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
  • The film follows a woman who is impregnated by a car and then pretends to be a long lost boy.
  • The movie has divided festival goers, but this writer found it to be surprisingly forgettable.
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Before heading in to see Julia Ducournau's new movie, "Titane," I was working out how best to shield my eyes from the expected squeamish horrors I was about to see.

"Titane," Ducournau's follow up to her 2016 movie "Raw" (about a vegetarian who tastes meat for the first team and develops a craving for human flesh), is perhaps the most talked about film at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The movie follows a woman who becomes impregnated by a car and then pretends to be the missing son of a desperate father who lost his boy 10 years ago. The talk of the body horror film was thus: uneasy, graphic violence that has made divided festival goers, with some apparently walking out or even vomit ting.

I prepared myself for these extremities before heading into my screening only to find that, like all things overblown by exaggerated headlines, it was far more stomach-able than I imagined. But that didn't make the film any good.

Why you should care: Find out what the hype and why it's so divisive is for yourself

When a film like "Titane" garners so much attention, it's always worth seeing the thing yourself just to work out what the hype is about. So if you're a cinema lover and you want to stay up to date with the most talked about movies, this one will tick that box.

As I was walking out of the theatre, one festival goer remarked how much he liked it, calling it a "great film" and stating that the movie has a good shot of winning the Palme d'Or, the festival's highest prize.

Another, more seasoned festival goer, who clearly did not know, disagreed however: "That? That was the worst film I've ever seen at Cannes."

That sums up "Titane."

In Peter Bradshaw's two star review for The Guardian, he called the movie "laboured and crudely directed" with a "feeble" final scene. Meanwhile David Ehrlich of Indie Wire said "'Titane' is the work of a demented visionary in full command of her wild mind," giving it an A- review.

It's always worth seeing something so divisive.

Vincent Lindon stars in "Titane."

What's hot: Strong performances and unsettling imagery

Vincent Lindon is one of Cannes Film Festival's most respected actors. He previously won best actor at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for "The Measure of a Man," and his performance here is standout as the desperate father who will do anything to have his son back.

The film's lead actress, Agathe Rousselle, is less verbose but still has an appropriately dangerous and terrifying presence. She doesn't need words to scare the audience, her actions do that for her - and Rousselle does the job efficiently.

Ducournau is also an obviously talented filmmaker, with her command of tone and atmosphere pitch-perfect in this strange, strange movie. There is some excellent use of imagery, here, too, with car oil a repeatedly-used image used to unsettle audiences. Weirdly, it's surprisingly touching at parts, with a nice moment between Lindon and Rousselle singing the Macarena together while giving someone CPR.

Some critics have also noted the powerful use of gender roles in this movie, with Rousselle's Alexia assuming the identity of a boy, while the father-son relationship that soon develops is both batsh-t crazy and completely unnerving.

What's not: For a film marketed to be explosive and divisive, it's actually pretty forgettable

The movie starts off shocking enough - Rousselle's Alexia f--ks a car. There's also a smattering of indulgent violence, the sort of violence that helped to make Quentin Tarantino famous, but Ducournau's onscreen splatters have a bit more of an edge to them.

But after I got past the initial shock of the body-horror elements, which climaxes surprisingly early on in the movie, I found the movie's tank to be pretty empty.

The film clearly revels in its weirdness - it's as pyschologically f---ed up as it is physically - but I never found the weirdness entertaining. I just found it boring and devoid of any value, with characters only shaded in and not enough substance to go with the obvious style. Other critics will absolutely disagree, but this film is bound to attract these split views.

The bottom line: admirable in parts, pretentious in others, and very, very Cannes

This is my first Cannes Film Festival, and if there was ever a movie that filled the stereotype of an artsy festival film, it's this one.

"Titane" will earn itself plenty of admirers who will love the film, but it will also earn plenty of people who can't stand it. What was most disappointing to me is that it didn't provoke either reaction from me - I certainly didn't love it, but I didn't exactly hate it. I was actually kind of bored by it.