A usurping melodrama under another name remains a usurping melodrama, and Fabrice du Welz’s latest does not really try to hide its genre conventions: “Inexorable” could just as well be called “Single White Female Nanny” or “ Fatal Domestic ”. Still, while this isn’t the most surprising or original among the Belgian director’s character-driven thrillers to date, it does grab attention with its elegantly crafted story of a wealthy family infiltrated by a young woman with a hidden agenda. The mix of authentic works of art and luscious satisfactions should allow the world premiere of the Toronto Film Festival to attract sales in various formats around the world.
Appeared in director’s latest film “Adoration”, Benoit Poelvoorde (even better known to many for his feature debut in the famous 1992 serial killer mock “Man Bites Dog”) is back, as a central figure this times. Son Marcel is a famous veteran writer whose flagship novel was discovered by publisher Jeanne (Melanie Doutey). They have been married for twenty-five years and are now moving into the vast estate she inherited from her publishing house magnate father with their only child Lucie (Janaina Halloy Fokan) and a newly acquired one from the Great Pyrenees.
They have to take care of their careers as well as a complete makeover of the lavish premises, so apparently no one has realized that a new dog requires training. Ergo, when the great white Odysseus disappears on the property, everyone is very grateful that he was found passing by stranger Gloria (Alba Gaia Bellugi), who seems skilled with dogs – and children. She tells the couple a bloody story that catches their sympathy. Soon they offer her a salary as a kind of playmate / babysitter, then housing, then a permanent position. It doesn’t occur to them that Gloria, if that’s even her name, carefully orchestrated all of this. Not to mention the fact that she fought to pretend she was assaulted (and pressured to offer safer housing) or stole money to get the pre-existing housekeeper fired on suspicion of theft.
You might wonder why these smart, worldly people entrust their child to a complete stranger or accept his word as the truth about someone else’s. Especially since Gloria seems nervous and stealthy before even starting to seriously drive a wedge between every member of the family (including the dog). Marcel is the first to really notice his irrational behavior, which both attracts and frightens him. That’s fitting, since it turns out that for some complicated and outrageous love / hate reasons that we end up only getting hold of, he’s the reason she’s here.
Poor Odysseus aside, no one here is exactly an innocent party – even young Lucie is a bit pampered. Still, it’s a sufficiently functional nuclear unit until their new “helper” starts tugging at every frayed seam in their relationship. In particular, she knows where the bodies are buried in Marcel’s past, even though she claims to be his biggest fan.
The “Inexorable” disbelief forcing audiences to hang in becomes easier as the film gains momentum, becoming increasingly stylized towards a high level of 1970s giallo of horribly colorful presentation as the events unfold. become more outraged. Yet the film is arguably more defined by the financial splendor of the environment of its main characters than by the insane malice of their intruder. Without giving in to decadent caricature, the co-writers and actors of du Welz create characters of pure blood whose privilege has fed their weaknesses. Yet one way or another, it’s little Lucie that reveals the spookiest hidden side of a birthday party decor that goes way above, but still a beautiful conceptual bloomer nonetheless.
Poelvoorde delivers an expert descent from pompous jerk to desperate prey, Bellugi ceding him the film’s most flamboyant notes even as Gloria grows more glamorous in her madness. Douley is also great as a spouse who can only be pushed to a point, which makes Marcel’s possible panic all the more understandable. However, only fluent French readers will be able to absorb (along with Jeanne) the untranslated secrets of the story that parade behind the film’s final credits.
A successful production ensemble makes great use of the grandiose location (Château de Roumont near the Champs, Libin in Belgium) highlighted by director of photography Manu Dacosse and chief decorator Emmanuel de Meulemeester. Also of note is the original score by Vincent Cahay, which uses a discreet mix of minimalist music, ambient sounds and a memorable explosion of thrash metal.