Black Heaven

Black Heaven

I was alerted to this movie last year by a review in the website
Brutal as Hell whose review suggested some possible influence from David Lynch. As I tend to like French films and also Lynch, this seemed a likely winner for me. And it opens in bright sunshine as young lovers discover an item that shortly lead to a much darker, more dangerous world running parallel to their own – very Blue Velvet.

So, Gaspard (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet ) and Marion (Pauline Etienne ) are the young couple who find a phone in a changing room at a lido in the south of France, where they are both staying. The phone has messages saved from someone called “Dragon” to the owner of the phone, a woman called “Sam” whose beautiful face is displayed on during an incoming call, which Marion answers. Dragon, not realising who he’s speaking to, enigmatically says that they need to meet so they can be together at “The Black Beach”. They coincidentally see Sam, meeting a man they presume to be Dragon, and follow her secretively, slowly getting drawn into Sam’s world. Gaspard takes things further, intrigued by Sam and investigates on his own, and so encounters the online roleplaying game of “Black Hole”, which takes him into further danger.

I can’t help feeling that the DVD distributors are miss-selling this film a little. The game element, while important to the plot and very well realised, is very much secondary to what is happening in ‘meat space’ but you wouldn’t get that impression from the DVD box information, which treats this as a techno-thriller. What we are actually presented with is a minor French thriller, with the online gaming element as an interesting twist but no more. But for me, that’s enough. It’s got a nice, creepy feel to it, its sense of menace building throughout the developing situations, and for which Gaspard is ill-equipped to navigate as his, often poor, choices draw him deeper into mysteries and personal danger.

It’s worth a watch, certainly, but it’s hardly Tron, as the box might suggest, and nor is it Lynch.

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