Both Sides of the Blade marks the return to the big screen for filmmaker Claire Denis but unfortunately, the film is a let-down.
Love triangle films can either be good or bad. In the case of this film, you don’t find yourself rooting for anyone. While Jean (Vincent London) and Sara (Juliette Binoche) might be living together for ten years now, Sara still has feelings for her ex, François (Grégoire Colin). He also happens to be Jean’s best friend. Now that they are working together and starting up an agency, it means that Sara has to face her feelings. She only saw him again from a distance in a chance encounter. Little did she know that–despite her love for Jean–it would stir up so many emotions. It’s not a comedy of errors from here on out but instead, it becomes a MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND ALREADY film. If you’re going to cheat, just leave Jean and get back to your ex. By staying, Sara just makes everything worse for everyone.
To make matters worse, it’s also a pandemic film. I mean, certainly there’s a way to approach the film without also grounding it during the pandemic. If you do this, you have to commit to mask wearing one-hundred percent. None of this chin mask shit or G-d forbid, taking off your mask because your on the phone. No, you either keep it on or you just stay home. I had no idea going into the film that it would be a pandemic movie. If I’m not watching the trailer, this is something that needs to be written in the synopsis. I go to the movies to escape, not relive the last two years and change.
Claire Denis & Christine Angot adapt the script from Angot’s novel, Un tournant de la Vie. If you’ve read the book, congrats–you’re entering the film knowing more than the rest of us. In knowing my reading interests, it’s not a book that I’m about to seek out anytime soon.
Much like High Life, Both Sides of the Blade will not be for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for me.
DIRECTOR: Claire Denis
SCREENWRITER: Claire Denis & Christine Angot
CAST: Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon, Grégoire Colin
Both Sides of the Blade held its Chicago premiere during the 2022 Chicago Critics Film Festival. IFC Films will release the film in theaters on July 8, 2022. Grade: 2/5
Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.