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The Blue Room

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We open the film to a couple in the midst of their sexual affair, the woman bites her lover, drawing blood. It’s a foreshadowing of things to come. We then flash to an interrogation taking place where the detective is asking the male lover to reiterate, was biting normal for them? We learn that these relationship shots are flashbacks, as Esther asks questions about Julien’s wife. Taking place in the French countryside, Julien returns home to his wife and daughter. We know this affair has taken place for some time, but what is the crime that has been committed?

Based on the book “Le Chambre Bleu“ or, “The Blue Room” by Georges Simenon, starring and directed by Mathieu Amalric as Julien Gahyde, this is one of those stories where the details themselves don’t matter as the story continues to unfold. The ending is predictable as the film approaches the final act. Amalric kept the color pallets of the film dark and depressing, encompassing the mood of the film.

Julien is stuck remembering the past as he is forced to defend himself in front of a detective and eventually a judge, but his white lies get him in to binds he struggles to escape. The question is who killed Julien’s wife? Every flashback points us back to the “innocence” of Julien, but was he truly innocent? Should he be condemned as much as his unhinged lover Esther? The people of the court say yes, and they are both sentenced to life in prison as Esther leans over and says “See Julien, they haven’t parted us”.

The movie feels very long, but is actually quite short in terms of runtime. If you’re not an independent film fan, this is not the entry to convert you. Less of the American themed finality in which we are accustomed to, we finish with a less than satisfying resolution.

2.5 stars

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