The story of a troubled relationship festering between two couples: young Alain Getty (Laurent Lucas), a home automation engineer, and his wife, sweet Bénédicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg); and middle-aged Ándre (Richard Polloc... more »k), Alain`s boss, who is married to the mysterious Alice (Charlotte Rampling). The encounter does not leave the young couple`s harmony unscathed. The discovery of a mysterious rodent`s corpse blocking the waste pipe of their kitchen sink does nothing to help and portends the bursting of irrationality into a hitherto orderly life.LEMMING was a selection in the Cannes Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival, 2005.« less
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dominik Moll's Lemming is being billed as a sort of Hitchcockian suspense thriller, a type of David Lynch psychic puzzle, where viewers are lambasted with images, which could either be fact or fantasy. The movie starts off strong - the first thirty minutes are indeed compelling - but when the gorgeous Charlotte Rampling leaves the film, the pacing slows, the narrative grinds to a halt and the movie becomes a bit of a slog to watch.
Laurent Lucas and Charlotte Gainsbourg play Alain and Benedicte, an upwardly mobile and successful couple. He's a remote-control gadget designer and she stays at home to look after their new house. Outwardly things are picture perfect, but the couple begins to encounter a series of peculiar upheavals after they host a dinner for Alain's boss (Andre Dussollier) and his brittle and unhinged wife, Alice (Charlotte Rampling).
Alice - for reasons that become clear as the dinner progresses, ends up venting her anger on her philandering husband, which cuts the evening short. Both Alain and Benedicte put it down to experience and even find time to casually joke about it, but after Alice tries to seduce Alain at work and then tells Alice about it the next day, this perfect couple begins to unravel. Alice, of course, is a piece of work, having set out to annihilate pleasure wherever it exists.
Things come to a head when Benedicte begins to exhibit Alice's obsessive rage that turns this previously sunny and laid-back woman into a cruel, cold and heartless witch. It gets even more mysterious when Alain finds a lemming blocking up the kitchen drainpipe. But the discovery of the lemming - and the fact that it's still alive seems beside the point - because the focus turns to Alain and Benedicte and how Alice, has managed to plant the seeds of doubt about the strength of their marriage.
The film works best when Rampling is in it and she beautifully captures this heartless and embittered woman, who is fed up with her husband and is intent to take out her anger on those around her, especially with those whom she sees as younger and more fortunate. Things get complicated when there's a grisly suicide, an affair, and even a murder, but it's never clear why any of these occur.
Even the ghost of one of the characters makes an appearance, which provokes a real head-scratching moment. And as Benedicte and Alain head for the country - ostensibly to sort out their relationship and try to restore their communication with each other - the film slows and begins to wears out its eerie mood, and there's little to justify dragging it out for more than two hours.
Of course, the themes of the movie are the lies we tell each other, and the hidden desires we all have, but with all its bloodiness, voyeurism, ghosts, sexual fantasy, dream imagery, and murder - it all ends up being a bit flat and opaque. Still, the cast is superb - particularly Ms. Rampling and for most of the time the atmosphere ably morphs from the calm to the foreboding.
The main problem of this film is that there is just too much ambiguity and uncertainty, and the collective inexplicability of events eventually overstrains credibility. While Lemming is in parts fascinating and fun, this constant vagueness makes it annoying and the movie as a whole rapidly becomes wearisome. Mike Leonard August 06. "
A Mind-bending Film that Challenges the Viewer: What is Drea
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nightmares have never been so decidedly well scripted as in LEMMING, another bizarre creation by French director Dominik Moll ('Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien', 'Intimité', 'Le Gynécologue et sa secrétaire') and writer Gilles Marchand ('Feux rouges', 'Qui a tué Bambi?', 'Bon voyage', 'Les Âmes câlines', 'Joyeux Noël'). As played by a superlative quartet of actors - Charlotte Rampling, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laurent Lucas, and André Dussollier - the film is no easy path to follow but one that in retrospect seems to fit together like a Chinese puzzle.
The story involves the 'model couple' who invite the rogue older couple to dinner where a belated arrival heralds the singly strange behavior of the boss' wife. When the outrageously 'eccentric' wife subsequently is thwarted in a seduction of the model husband and the model husband fails to immediately communicate this embarrassing encounter to his young wife, the nightmare begins: the tale embraces suicide, alienation, adultery, philandering, murder, abandonment, a car crash - all seemingly related in a linear sense. But as it turns out, in the end of the film the events appear to be the fodder of a nightmare that could only have been induced by a simple initial guilt of lack of communication.
The 'lemming' of the title refers not only to a Scandinavian rodent that is found in the plumbing of the young couple's kitchen, but it also is part of the nightmare of the concept that lemmings 'commit suicide' in their migration from their overpopulated Scandinavia to the oceans of death beyond their home. In retrospect each piece of the bizarre story is laid very carefully in the opening of the film, at times a bit occult but the pieces are there. Rampling and Gainsbourg are their usual beautiful and gifted selves in very tough roles, and the entire cast is on target, succeeding in catching us off guard at every turn. Perhaps this is not a 'great movie', but it certainly is a fine exercise for the mind and gives further evidence that Dominik Moll is a formidable artist. Grady Harp, September 06
Well Done Psychological Thriller
R. Schultz | Chicago | 03/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just as a lemming inexplicably wedges itself into a young French couple's plumbing system - so a woman's hatred and bitterness insinuates itself into this couple's lives, into their psyches.
I wouldn't say this movie goes so far as to have a David Lynch quality, as the DVD jacket touts. The unfolding here is much more realistic, less surrealistic than Lynch. But there is a preternatural element at work in the dynamics between the main characters.
This is an adult movie - adult in the sense that the director allows time and space and the unsaid to create the tension. It's not just one onslaught of weirdness after another, like you find in a lot of would-be thrillers. The suspense is this movie is intrinsic.
Charlotte Rampling is fascinating, as ever. She and all the actors have that sterling ability to concentrate. It's this quality that raises acting into a true art.
"Lemming" isn't dubbed. You will have to read English subtitles if you don't speak French. And the subtitles are printed so large that they spilled off the edges of my TV screen on occasion. But since the dialogue here is so succinct and paced, you won't find the mood being broken by having to read subtitles.
Subtitles and all, this movie is absorbing - mesmerizing. "
A methaphysical thriller with the great Charlotte Rampling
Juan Meyer | 02/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If there is an influence in this attractive film by Dominik Moll it's Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Albee, rather than Alfred Hitchcock. Revealing more about the Poe influence would spoil the film, but it will be clear to anybody when they finish watching. All in all, this is a strong effort by Dominik Moll, who directed the similarly intriguing "With a Friend Like Harry". That was a superior, probably near great film. Lemming is a very good one, and anyone entering it should be warned that this is not a conventional thriller, but rather something of a metaphysical puzzle, with very malignant undertones and ominous happenings (like the disturbing appearance of the creature which gives the film its name). In less able hands, the film could border on the cliched and the pretentious, but Moll knows how to weave a compelling story with appropiately eerie touches. At every step of the way, a most disturbing surprise arises, and there is no peace for the young middle class couple (Laurent Lucas and Charlotte Gainsbourgh) unexpectedly assaulted by the chaotic life of a much older and sinister couple, played by Andre Dussolier and Charlotte Rampling. The film is greatly helped by the presence of the great Rampling, in full bitch goddess mode. Although her appearance is relatively brief, she is the ravaged, brutal, mysterious heart of this film. "
Nicely twisted, but too long
Bradley F. Smith | Miami Beach, FL | 12/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A suicidal lemming shows up in a drainpipe before the boss's wacky wife commits suicide in the nice young couple's apartment. Things go very wrong from there. It's funny at times and a little creepy, too. The meaning is somewhat lost, but you'll enjoy the classic French meaningful looks with minimal dialogue, if you like French cinema. I had no idea Charlotte Rampling spoke French so well. She was hot back in her Woody Allen days. Too long by 30 mins, but still worth watching."