The Apartment
(L'Appartement)



the apartment

The Apartment (L'Appartement)
Made in: France
Language: French
Director: Gilles Mimouni
Starring: Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Romane Bohringer, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Sandrine Kiberlain
Year: 1995

Synopsis: At a posh café in Paris, Max (Vincent Cassel) is about to say goodbye to his fianceé Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain) before heading out on a business trip to Tokyo. But before leaving, he hears the voice of Lisa (Monica Bellucci), a former lover, coming from a phone booth. But she disappears before he can be sure.

Secretly delaying his trip, Max searches for Lisa in hopes of finding closure to their failed relationship, which went bust two years prior.

But the search doesn't turn out to be so straightforward. Complicating the plot is another beautiful young woman named Alice (Romane Bohringer), and Max's best pal Lucien (Jean-Philippe Écoffey).

With the story told in fragments and multiple flashbacks, The Apartment turns out to be a convoluted story involving love triangles, chance, heartbreak, jealousy, suspicion, old guys who drive Jaguars, and of course, sex.



The Good: This is a pretty riveting drama as it pulls you along. The cast is great, and the classy Monica Bellucci is radiant as the elusive Lisa. Romane Bohringer also holds her own as the second leading lady.

The story cleverly flows back and forth between the past and present, with hairstyles being your only chronological references. Director Gilles Mimoumi, while concentrating only on a few important locations, still makes Paris look beautiful and classically romantic.

The most fascinating elements of The Apartment are the multiple twists and turns. You really don't know how it's all going to end, or who's going to end up with whom.

The Bad: At times, it's easy to get lost in all the plot turns. The story also stretches the limits of plausibility. Although Vincent Cassel and Jean-Philippe Écoffey are very good actors, the needy, insecure doofuses they play don't seem to be the kind of guys who end up attracting any woman, let alone ones who look like Monica Bellucci and Romane Bohringer.

But hey, it's just a movie.

This film was remade into Wicker Park. Although I haven't seen the Hollywood remake, the original is solid enough and didn't have to be re-imagined.

Who would like this movie: The Apartment is for you if you're already a fan of foreign films, and enjoy romantic intrigue with a touch of soap opera-like storylines. This is a well-directed, creative, and unpredictable love story that looks great and has a good music score to boot.

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang


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