Mill Valley Film Festival 2014: “Two Days, One Night”, “Clouds of Sils Maria”, “In Order of Disappearance”

MARIONA depressed French woman fights for her job, a middle-aged actress returns to the stage play that put her on the map, and a Swedish snow plow driver searches for his son’s killer in my first set of capsule reviews for Mill Valley 37!

Two Days, One Night

(Deux Jours, Une Nuit)

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Ready to return to her job at a factory after a debilitating bout with depression, Sandra (Marion Cotillard) finds herself fighting for her job when she finds out that her boss has given her sixteen co-workers an ultimatum: fire Sandra or say goodbye to a major cash bonus. Now, Sandra has the weekend to convince her co-workers to vote in her favor and keep her job.

In writing, this sounds like a story ripe with drama, but in execution it ends up playing rather mundane and repetitive, with Cotillard trying her best to pump drama into what is essentially the same word-for-word conversation played out with a dozen different actors. To Cotillard’s serious credit, she almost pulls it off, but writer-director brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne derail their own “realistic” vision with cartoonishly evil side-characters, unimaginative direction, and an early third-act choice that aims for heart-wrenching but lands on cheap audience manipulation.

Showtimes for Two Days, One Night:
Saturday, Oct 11 – 5:45 pm (Sequoia 1)
Sunday, Oct 12 – 2:00 pm (Rafael 1)

(In French with English subtitles)

 

Clouds of Sils Maria

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French filmmaker Olivier Assayas‘ outstanding psychosexual drama follows aging actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) traveling to the Swiss Alps with her young assistant (Kristen Stewart) to prepare for a revival of the stage play that made her famous. As the line between fact and fiction become fractious, so does the relationship between the fading star and her scrappy associate. A triumvirate of strong performances from Binoche, Stewart, and Chloë Grace Moretz (as Maria’s ruthless young co-star) make this a must-see.

Showtimes for Clouds of Sils Maria:

In Order of Disappearance

(Kraftidioten)

In Order

Stellan Skaarsgård plays snow plow driver Nils Dickman, a formerly mild-mannered pillar of his tiny Norwegian town who finds himself plowing his way to bloody vengeance as he searches for the gangsters who killed his son. Fans of the darkly comical sensibilities of the Coen Brothers will find much to love in this violent and hilarious Scandinavian crime saga.

Showtimes for In Order of Disappearance:

Friday, Oct 10 – 5:45pm (Rafael 2)
Sunday, Oct 12 – 2:45pm (Sequoia 2)

(In Swedish and Norwegian with English subtitles)

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Categories: Festivals, Reviews

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