A rich man's wife convinces a mechanic to help her
fake her own kidnapping, but someone is being played.
In the Shadow of Iris (2016)
Directed by Jalil Lespert
Written by Andrew Bovell
Starring Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, Jalil Lespert,
Camille Cottin, Adel Bencherif, Sophie Verbeeck, Hélène Barbry
Remake of 2000's Chaos
I didn't really know what to expect with this one. It's been sitting at the bottom of my Netflix watchlist for almost six years. Over the years, the films that Netflix produces, the Originals as they call them, have been a mixed bag. There's some gems, but there's an abundance of rocks. The reviews of this one were not kind, and I've never been one for French cinema in the first place. I've found it pretentious and hard to follow most of the time. In the Shadow of Iris isn't a dumpster fire, but it's no masterpiece. It feels like a potentially great movie got lost in a heap of unnecessary confusion.
A desperate mechanic named Max (Duris) teams with a woman he believes is Iris (Le Bon) to fake her kidnapping and extort her rich husband Antoine (Lespert) for 500,000 euros. Sounds simple enough, but when Max can't go through with it, then goes home to find Iris dead in his bed, things get complicated. More so, he finds out the woman he worked out the scheme with was not actually Iris, but Antoine's mistress Claudia. The real Iris is the dead woman. Max, now feeling betrayed and used by the real schemers, actually does kidnap Claudia. Meanwhile, the cops are zeroing in on this web of lies and, for some reason, secret S&M hookups. There's a lot to unpack, and very little ends up explained.
I don't want to stereotype, but I've yet to watch a French film that's straightforward or not dull as dishwater at times. Maybe I'm watching the wrong ones, but you'd think by now I would've found at least one. Oh, well. The search continues.