The Woman in the Fifth: Review
Now I must admit it has been QUITE A WHILE (almost a year actually) since my last post on this site and I must confess that it is entirely my fault. Now, I have resolved to make a balance between my schoolwork and this website by making at least one post of good quality writing a week. I am welcome to any suggestions, critiques, and applications for staff writers (unfortunately pro bono of course). But I digress; let’s get back to the meat of the matter. Oh, and if you didn’t see the big one at the top of the post, *WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH*
A university lecturer and writer, Tom Ricks (Ethan Hawke), flies to Paris to settle with his wife (Delphine Chuillot) and child (Julie Papillon). After fleeing the police, he finds himself robbed and in need of a job and a place to stay both provided by a seedy businessman, Sezer (Samir Guesmi) all while getting himself mixed up in two sexual relationships with a wealthy socialite, Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas), and a Polish waitress, Ania (Joanna Kulig).
I would like to spoil the end of my review by saying that this movie is an utterly awful entry into the realm of cinema, and all because of its sloppy, pretentious, unexplained 3rd act. Now had I written a review for Prometheus and you had read it you might be thinking now “Isn’t that what was wrong with Prometheus? And didn’t he really enjoy Prometheus?” and my answer to you is this: Prometheus’ lack of explanation and 3rd act full of stupidity and unnecessary previews was at the very least entertaining and thought provoking.
The entire time this movie is going on I’m wondering if the reason for the tension between him and his family is some form of mental illness (Paranoid Schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder) leading to violent outbursts, hallucinations, blackouts and certain protective mechanisms of the brain causing him not know what it is he did or has done, etc. And while that is hinted at the entire film, nothing is explained. Not even when they reveal the big twist that Margit died 20 years prior (I’m actually assuming that this film is present day as they don’t even tell us what year it is) after committing a homicide/suicide. Not only this, but they arrest Sezer for a murder that up until his arrest, I am completely thinking that Tom Ricks did it in one of his “episodes”.
Anyways. I’ve spent the entire time talking about the horribleness of the 3rd act when actually the first two thirds of the movie(with a proper ending of course) was making a solid thriller and then it crashed and burned like Oceanic Flight 815. But the one thing that makes this movie even barely watchable is a brilliant performance by Ethan Hawke and I mean brilliant. In fact, it is his performance that leads me to all these theories about his character and the story. Kristin Scott Thomas does a good job as well as the slightly maternal figure in his life but is completely outclassed by Hawke.
Apart from the good performances, the technical details in this movie were also well developed with brilliant cinematography, great direction from Pawel Pawlikowski and sound mixing that makes you embrace the isolation of the environment that Hawke finds himself in. Overall however, this is a terrible movie that should be ablated from everyone’s memory and replaced by a more coherent story starring the brilliant Ethan Hawke
IMDB says 5.0/10
RT says 63%
I say 2.0/10